Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Weak Leadership' Lands Failing Teesside School in Special Measures

Newspaper article Evening Gazette (Middlesbrough, England)

'Weak Leadership' Lands Failing Teesside School in Special Measures

Article excerpt

Byline: Mike Blackburn Senior Reporter

A MIDDLESBROUGH school has been put into special measures after a damning Ofsted report branded its leadership as "weak".

Ofsted inspectors say the Saltersgill Avenue school is failing in all areas and have given it the lowest "inadequate" ranking.

The headteacher Kirsten Dinsdale and two other members of staff at Prince Bishop are currently suspended.

Some 90 children aged 11 to 16, who have social, emotional and behavioural issues attend the school - formerly known as Tollesby School - which relocated to a new building that it shares with Beverley School, in 2011.

Rebuilt as part of the Building Schools for the Future programme, it was officially opened by former Boro boss Tony Mowbray in September 2011.

In February 2012, Prince Bishop was celebrating a "satisfactory" Ofsted report, which said the school was "improving as a result of good leadership and management".

But Richenda Broad, Middlesbrough Council's executive director for wellbeing, care and learning, said concerns over the management of pupil behaviour were raised in 2013, by the Youth Offending Service. Mrs Broad said random case samples had identified "a number of students at the school who had been criminalised in the courts".

She said this highlighted "criminal" behaviour of some pupils when in the school - this "could have been against property, against other students or against staff."

A safeguarding review was undertaken by the Middlesbrough Safeguarding Children's Board and an action plan put in place seeking improvements.

Further concerns were raised earlier this year and investigations are currently being undertaken by Middlesbrough Council and Cleveland Police.

Ofsted inspectors carried out an inspection on September 17 and 18 with half a day's notice in response to the concerns.

The inspector's report, published today, makes for a stark read.

"Leadership across the school is weak," said the report.

"Too much has been concentrated in the hands of a small number of senior staff, all of whom have either left the school in the last term or are suspended."

On pupils' behaviour the report said: "Behaviour is not managed effectively or consistently.

"High rates of serious behavioural incidents and exclusions have risen further since the last inspection and despite reductions in the last term, they remain high overall."

The report said the school's "work to keep students safe and secure is inadequate".

Bullying sometimes went unreported, "because of students' concerns that to do so would worsen the situation because staff may not deal with it particularly well."

"The inappropriate management of students' behaviour has had a negative impact on students wellbeing and attendance," said inspectors and most of the students "underachieve". …

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