Washington Academy slammed by Ofsted inspectors who say bullying and pupil-on-pupil assaults happen too frequently

Washington Academy has been rated inadequate by Ofsted
Washington Academy has been rated inadequate by Ofsted

Inspectors have said bullying and peer-on-peer assaults occur too frequently at a Sunderland school in a damning Ofsted report.

Washington Academy has been rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted inspectors following its latest visit in April.

The school's accidents books shows that peer-on-peer assaults and boisterous behaviour resulting in injury has happened frequently this year.

The report says: "For example, in October 2018, there were 24 recorded incidents in which pupils were hurt. The same number of incidents happened in January 2019."

Bullying in the school, which has 597 pupils on its roll, is 'too frequent' and not all pupils are confident that if they report bullying it will be dealt with by staff.

Although the school's behaviour policy advocates the use of restorative justice, the number of exclusions has risen this year.

To date there have been 100 exclusions - which is well above the national average for secondary schools.

There have been fewer exclusions in the spring term than recorded during the autumn term.

Pupils also told inspectors they hear occasional racist and homophobic language - stating that they felt it was due to a lack of understanding or awareness.

The attendance of pupils has fallen and remains low with no sign of improving, say inspectors. So far this year a quarter of pupils have been persistently absent which is affecting pupils' progress.

But inspectors have recognised positive steps taken by leaders and staff to improve following a turbulent summer last year.

A significant breakdown in leadership and management last summer - where relationships between leaders and staff became 'severely strained' and led to strike action.

The report says the legacy of this period means some parents have lost confidence and continue to be critical of the school - with two thirds of respondents to Ofsted's online questionnaire saying they would not recommend the school because of concerns with behaviour and bullying.

READ MORE: Parents hit out at Washington Academy over claims of bullying and safeguarding issues as police confirm knife arrest.

Inspectors found leaders do have a good understanding of what needs to improve.

The report said: "New leaders have done much to repair damaged relationships. They have fostered a more collaborative culture and have begun to improve the quality of teaching."

Following the publication of the report, Martin Shevill, CEO of Consilium Academies which runs the school, said: "Whilst the Trust recognises there is clearly much work to be done at Washington Academy, we are pleased that the report recognises the positive steps being taken by the staff, leadership of the academy and the Trust to begin to rectify the issues."

Outcomes for pupils has been rated as 'inadequate' with pupils making significantly less progress in a broad range of subjects than other pupils nationally.

Standards of attainment were also low with only 22% of pupils attaining a good GCSE pass in both English and mathematics last year.

The progress of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities is also weak and pupils continue to underachieve.

The school was told it requires improvement in the effectiveness of leadership and management, and quality of teaching, learning and assessment.

While the personal development, behaviour and welfare, and outcomes for pupils were rated inadequate, with it getting an overall inadequate rating.

Inspectors also found that teaching does not consistently identify pupils' misconceptions. During an observation of a mathematics lesson on analogue clocks, inspectors found the teacher was slow to pick up that pupils were unclear on how many minutes there were in an hour.

The report says: "The work done this year by senior leaders to improve the training and development of teachers has begun to improve teaching, learning and assessment.

"However, standards of teaching remain variable across subjects and key stages. Leaders know that there is still much to do."