Ofsted slams school for failing to tackle homophobia and racism

A Cornish school has been criticised by Ofsted for not “responding assertively” to incidences of homophobia and racism.

Callington Community College was subjected to a sudden monitoring inspection by the education watchdog, after it had become concerned about the school’s safeguarding procedures.

The monitoring inspection report was conducted by Jonathan Palk HMI over two days in January.

In his letter to the school’s principal, Mr Sean Morris, Mr Palk noted that the school had a “poor culture of safeguarding.

“Leaders and managers have not kept abreast of statutory guidance as set out in Keeping Children Safe in Education published by the Department of Education in April 2014.

“Leaders and governors lack an overarching strategy for monitoring and evaluating the academy’s safeguarding arrangements.”

The lack of training on issues for staff means that they do not recognise prejudice to groups of varied sexual orientation or intolerance to race and different cultures when they are displayed by students.” He added.

The school’s most recent full inspection was in January 2012 where it was rated outstanding overall and for behaviour and safety of pupils.

Mr Palk also criticised the local authority and local safeguarding children board for being “slow to respond to their concerns about safer recruitment at the academy.”

The inspection took place just three months after one of the school’s teachers, Luke Maslen, was jailed for four years for grooming and having sex with two teenagers.

At the end of his letter Mr Palk notes, that following the inspection the local authority designated officer for Cornwall contacted Ofsted to make them aware of an additional safeguarding issue. It is understood that this matter is being investigated by the relevant authorities.

Callington Community College converted to academy status in 2011.

In Spring 2014 it was awarded the Unicef Rights Respecting Schools Award (RRSA)  which “recognises achievement in putting the United Nations Convention on the Rights of the Child (CRC) at the heart of a school’s planning, policies, practice and ethos.”

The RRSA website states that “a rights-respecting school not only teaches about children’s rights but also models rights and respect in all its relationships: between pupils and adults, between adults and between pupils.”