A free school rated inadequate by Ofsted after concerns were raised about its teaching of “British values” has been told it is making “reasonable progress” towards removal of special measures.
Grindon Hall Christian School (GCHS), in Sunderland, was placed in special measures in January, the same week the report into the now-closed Durham Free School was also published.
The inspectorate said after an initial visit last November that the curriculum was not adequately preparing pupils for life in modern Britain. Pupils were not being taught to develop “appropriate” levels of respect for those from other faiths and communities, the report said.
After the inspection, the school’s headteacher Chris Gray complained about Ofsted’s line of questioning during the visit claiming it was “intrusive and deeply personal”.
In the latest report Ofsted said leaders at GCHS — an all-through school with almost 600 pupils — had now implemented a “detailed” study programme about British values.
The report said: “British values are discussed widely and there are increasing opportunities for young people to explore their roles as young citizens through, for example, membership of the school council. HMI will further
examine the impact of this work during his next monitoring inspection.”
In relation to bullying, inspectors said: Pupils report that they feel safe and that bullying is rare. They say that they are confident that adults at the school would deal with bullying, if it did occur, promptly and effectively.”
Since the previous inspection the chair of governors has resigned and seven staff members have left the school, some of whom were leaders.
In response to the latest monitoring report, Mr Gray said its goes “some way to lifting the awful cloud which has been hanging over us since last November’s report, which presented a somewhat different picture.”
He added, in a letter to parents: “The challenge for us now is to address the issues identified with focus and determination, and we remain committed to doing that.”