Watchdog has ‘serious concerns’ about Stowmarket school

Latest Stowmarket news from the Bury Free Press

Latest Stowmarket news from the Bury Free Press

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An educational watchdog has raised serious concerns about an ‘inadequate’ pupil referral unit (PRU) in Stowmarket.

Ofsted has been monitoring the Kingsfield Centre, a school in Chilton Way for youngsters with behavioural, emotional and social difficulties, since discovering it had ‘serious weaknesses’ last year.

Its latest report, produced following an inspection earlier this month, has raised ‘serious concerns’ about the behaviour and safety of pupils at the school, and the quality of its leadership and management.

It says Kingsfield, which also operates two satellite centres in Bury St Edmunds, ‘is not making enough progress’ and should be re-inspected ‘at the earliest opportunity’.

The school’s weaknesses, according to the report, include ‘ineffective’ procedures for managing challenging behaviour, low expectations of staff, regular disruptions from pupils, high and poorly monitored absence rates, frequently wasted curriculum time and smoking being condoned on site.

The report states: “Pupils’ poor behaviour, including leaving lessons, wandering outside and using mobile phones, regularly disrupts their learning and that of others. They are unaware of the expectations of them, and are regularly rude and disrespectful to staff. At times, pupils’ poor behaviour escalates into serious incidents.”

Suffolk County Council is also criticised for the ‘little impact’ its support is having on tackling Ofsted’s concerns.

A spokesman for the council said: “The local authority is currently reviewing the support that has been put into Kingsfield historically and also reviewing its current support to ensure that progress accelerates in addressing the issues that Ofsted has identified.”

The report does praise the ‘patience, tolerance and resilience’ of staff, the inclusion of workplace opportunities in the school’s curriculum and the ‘more consistent’ approach being taken to improve teaching.

Executive headteacher Marion Aust was unavailable for comment.