DfE Threatens School With Funding Cut Following Alleged Homophobia
person holding up a LGBT flag
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DfE Threatens School With Funding Cut Following Alleged Homophobia

Ellen Knight May 31, 2022

Ark Kings Academy in Birmingham has been issued with a warning by the Department for Education (DfE) after reports of bullying and homophobia were recorded in an Ofsted report.

The report unearthed a culture at the school where ‘bullying, derogatory language and homophobic behaviours are commonplace’, and observed that many pupils did not feel safe. Ark Kings Academy is run by Ark Schools, one of Britain’s biggest academy chains that runs 39 schools in total.

‘Pupils do not feel safe in the school’

The academy was rated by the report as ‘inadequate’ in nearly all categories, such as quality of education, leadership, behaviour, and personal development. The DfE proceeded to issue the school with a Termination Warning Notice, which cited a range of issues leading to a risk of funding being withdrawn.

Following an inspection in February, the Ofsted report stated; ‘Some pupils, particularly those who identify as LGBT, experience repeated name-calling and prejudiced behaviour.

‘This means that pupils do not feel safe in the school.’

The report continued, also noting that pupils ‘feel that they have to tolerate the frequent sexual harassment towards them.’

Furthermore, Ofsted observed that Ark Kings Academy students had ‘no confidence’ in receiving support from staff should they raise any concerns. It was also noted that pupils with special educational needs or disabilities had a ‘high and increasing’ number of suspensions – and were far more likely to be sanctioned than their peers.

Photo by Jakayla Toney on Unsplash

‘We fully accept the findings’

Andrew Warren, the Regional Schools Commissioner, stated that he needed ‘to be satisfied that the trust has capacity to deliver rapid and sustainable improvement.’

‘If I am not satisfied that this can be achieved, I will consider whether to terminate the funding agreement in order to transfer the academy to an alternative academy trust.’

An Ark Schools spokesperson told the BBC: ‘Whilst very disappointed with the inspection judgment, we fully accept the findings of the inspection report.

‘We had identified many of the issues prior to the inspection and had taken action to begin to address these ahead of the inspection.’

The school stated that it was ‘very confident the school will improve rapidly over the coming months.’

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Ellen is a freelance journalist studying MA Broadcast Journalism at Cardiff University. Her work has appeared in publications such as Teen Vogue and Al Jazeera, and tends to focus on politics and current affairs. Her involvement in student radio station Burn FM lead to an interview she conducted winning Student Radio Moment of the Year in 2022. She has been writing for Freshered since February 2022. You can follow her on Twitter @ellenmjknight