Exclusive: Michaela – 'England's strictest school' – worried about teachers being 'harmed' by pupils from other schools

Michaela Community School's accounts reveal seven 'key risks' and its hopes to open a new all-through school

Martin George

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Teachers being “harmed” by pupils from other schools, disgruntled staff, harassment on social media and "below expectations" GCSE results – these the main concerns preoccupying the leaders of one of England's most controversial schools.

The "key risks" for Michaela Community School in Wembley, north London – often dubbed the country’s strictest school – have emerged in its latest set of annual financial accounts.

When asked to list "principle risks and uncertainties", most academies spell out concerns about interest rates, liquidity, safeguarding or teacher recruitment in their annual submissions.

But Michaela, led by Katharine Birbalsingh (pictured), has opted to take a much general approach, offering an interesting window into the thinking of its management.

The school listed seven key risks:

  • The risk of GCSE exam results being below expectations because of the nature of the exams;
  • Being able to recruit staff of the right calibre and approach;
  • The impact of changes to funding regulations;
  • Loss of personal and sensitive information;
  • Disgruntled members of staff bringing the school into disrepute;
  • Detractors from the outside harassing staff on social media;
  • Teachers being harmed by pupils from other schools while out in the street.

The accounts added that “mitigating action, both current and planned, has been identified to address these risks”.

The risks were in contrast to those listed the year before, which were “failures in governance and management”, “reputational risk” and “significant changes in staff”.

Plans for an all-through school

The school’s strict approach to discipline, emphasis on direct instruction from teachers and traditional curriculum have divided opinion since it opened in 2014.

Now, its 2015-16 accounts have revealed that its trustees plan to set up “an all-through Michaela school in the next few years”.

The accounts also said that Michaela had joined Brent Council’s Fair Access Panel, which determines the next school placement for permanently excluded pupils, in January 2016.

The school has taken two children who “had been excluded for serious behaviour incidents in their previous schools” since then. The accounts said both placements had been “highly successful”.

It added that Michaela had excluded one child since opening.

The accounts also showed that principal Ms Birbalsingh was paid between £85-90,000 in 2015-16 – the same as the year before.

TES has contacted Michaela for comment.

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Martin George

Martin George

Martin George is a reporter at Tes

Find me on Twitter @geomr

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