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to issue the school with a Termination Warning Notice, which cited a range of issues leading to a risk of funding being withdrawn.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.
‘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.’