Pupils physically assaulted and racially abused at Sheffield school

Firs Hill Community Primary School, Orphanage Road, Sheffield.
Firs Hill Community Primary School, Orphanage Road, Sheffield.
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A Sheffield inner-city primary school has been put in special measures after inspectors found some pupils had been physically assaulted and subjected to racist and homophobic name calling.

Action is now being taken to tackle ‘bullying, intimidating and unacceptable behaviour’ at Firs Hill Community Primary, in Firs Hill.

Aspects of work at the school had ‘deteriorated significantly’ since the last inspection in 2013, according to inspectors from Government education watchdog Ofsted.

Evidence of widespread bullying was found in the school and inspectors found leaders were ineffective in keeping pupils safe.

Sheffield Council is now taking steps to ensure a new leadership will be in place by the new year.

Becky Webb, headteacher at Tinsley Meadows Primary, will take over the reins and be in charge of running both schools. Learn Sheffield – the city’s new council and school partnership organisation – will work with her to raise standards.

Mrs Webb said: “There is clearly a lot that needs to change at the school in order for things to improve. The findings of the inspectors are of course not acceptable and work is already underway to address all of these concerning issues.

“Bullying and behaviour issues are already being addressed and more robust measures to ensure pupils are safe are being put in place as a matter of priority.

“I want to eradicate any bullying, intimidating and unacceptable behaviour. No child should be subject to this and it is a priority for me to change what has been happening in this school.

“The interim leadership has already started to make changes in the right direction, as noted by the inspectors.

“It will be my job to continue this good work and make sure that the school does not fail its pupils again.”

Inspectors criticised pupils’ behaviour with too many children unable to behave without close supervision and many lack self-discipline. They found that low-level disruption is prevalent in some classrooms.

They also said teaching requires improvements and teachers knowledge of what children need to learn to make good progress is not secure enough.

Inspectors found that since their last visit, when the school was rated as requiring improvement, some aspects of work has deteriorated and groups of pupils do not make consistently good progress.

But they did say Fiona Rigby, headteacher at nearby St Catherine’s Primary, was ‘already providing decisive, strong leadership’ as interim headteacher and under her direction other leaders were starting to make a difference to teaching.

Coun Jackie Drayton, council cabinet member for children, young people and families said: “Any report like this is worrying which is why we have acted swiftly to make sure pupils are safe from issues like bullying and intimidation.

“No child should be subjected to such behaviour and that is why we have taken the steps we have to turn this school around.”