A SECONDARY school has been told it has to make improvements after inspectors said staff were too strict with pupils.

Kearsley Academy has lost its good rating and has been placed in the “requires improvement” category following an Ofsted inspection, which was sparked by complaints and raised “serious concerns”.

School bosses moved to stress that Kearsley Academy was one of the most improved schools nationally and that the inspection recognised improvements being made in the school.

The inspection looked at the school’s behaviour policy to find out whether it was “on occasion applied in an unfair or inconsistent way” — and whether some senior staff were speaking to pupils in an “inappropriate” way.

The inspection also focused on whether the education for special educational needs and disability students was “good enough”.

And the Ofsted report revealed that the school sixth form, which has only been opened since 2011, could shut.

The school came under fire by a number of parents last year who complained that pupils were being unfairly being sent home for wearing the wrong kind of black leather shoes and unfairly made to wear those bought by the schools if families could not provide the right ones.

Another girl was allegedly told to dye her ginger hair by a teacher, because it was “not a natural colour”.

READ MOREOutrage after pupils sent home for wearing 'wrong' shoes

READ MORE: Teacher 'told 12-year-old pupil to dye her ginger hair a 'natural' colour'

Inspectors found that a small minority of parents and pupils “rightly feel” that there were times when the behaviour policy is applied “too strictly” and “are unhappy with the way the some senior staff speak to pupils”.

Ofsted inspectors stated: “Parents’ concerns centre on senior staff speaking inappropriately to pupils and applying the behaviour system too harshly.”

But added: “Leaders of the trust were already aware of these concerns and are addressing them.”

Ofsted reported that there were concerns among a few parents and pupils that bullying is not always dealt with appropriately, and inspectors reported that the procedures to deal with such incidents are “not robust” enough.

Education for children with SEND was described as variable — with examples of pupils being well supported by “caring and well-informed teaching assistants” but added that in other instances the work planned did not always meet their needs leading to some pupils “unfairly falling foul of the behaviour system.”

But added: “In other instances, teachers do not plan work effectively for the differing needs and capabilities of pupils. This can lead to some pupils unfairly falling foul of the behaviour system because they cannot do what they are asked to.”

Attendance at the school is below national average during the years pupils studying for their GCSEs.

The majority of pupils were found to behave well in school, although there is low-level disruption in a minority of lessons, when learning is not “engaging” — and work is being done to raise standards. 

But inspectors found there are high expectations across most subjects
They reported: “The new leadership of the trust has brought about significant improvements since 2016 when the school’s outcomes were among the lowest nationally.”

READ MOREKearsley Academy posted the biggest rise in GCSE results

Teaching in English and maths was praised but Progress in science and humanities was said to below national average.

“Last year, pupils’ progress over the range of subjects that they studied was below the national average. 

“However, the proportion of pupils achieving a good pass in English and mathematics was above the national average. This represents significant improvement from 2016 when the results in English and mathematics were among the lowest found nationally.”

All school leavers went on to further eduction, employment or training.
The school is currently consulting on closing the sixth form.


A spokesperson from the academy said: "The improvements recognised by Ofsted resulted in record breaking outcomes last year with Kearsley Academy being rated as one of the most improved schools nationally.

"We are particularly proud that pupils say that their school has improved significantly since the previous inspection. 

"Moreover, our most recent anonymous pupil survey indicates that almost 90 per cent feel that their learning is less disrupted, 78 per cent feel safer in school and 74 per cent feel that corridors are calmer as a direct result of the new behaviour policy, which is having a dramatic impact on the climate for learning in the academy. 

"Whilst inspectors state that the academy ‘requires improvement’overall, representatives from Northern Education Trust believe that many positives can be taken from the report.  

"This is because the strength of leadership within the school, combined with strong support from the trust, is demonstrating that there is evidence that the direction of travel towards sustainable school improvement is now firmly established. 

"We are not complacent and recognise the work which is still ahead. We are strongly supported by the vast majority of parents who recognise the rapid improvements at the academy in the last few years.

"As with all schools, we continue to encourage the small minority of parents who may have concerns to raise them directly with the academy.

"We are keen to work closely with parents in the interests of students and Mr Buckley, Executive Principal, is keen to meet with parents to strengthen this relationship.”