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Pupils at Educating Greater Manchester school were put ‘at risk daily’

Ofsted report says school is 'working hard to gain the support and trust' of parents in the face of 'significant hostility'

Educating Greater Manchester

The school from the Educating Greater Manchester TV series was “putting children at risk daily” because of inadequate safeguarding, according to a new Ofsted report.

Following a monitoring inspection last month, Ofsted said improvements had been made at Harrop Fold School and pupils are “no longer” at risk.

However, the report said leaders at the school were still “working hard to gain the support and trust” of parents in the face of “significant hostility”.

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The Channel 4 programme Educating Greater Manchester was first broadcast in August 2017.

In November last year, Harrop Fold was placed into special measures after being found "inadequate" in all areas.

Drew Povey, who was headteacher during the TV series, quit in September 2018 after he was suspended alongside three other staff members owing to "administrative errors".

Ofsted’s November inspection report highlighted that pupils had been deleted from the school roll shortly before the date of the Department for Education’s annual census of schools each January.

“This type of action means that the examination results of pupils taken off roll temporarily do not appear in school performance tables,” the report said.

It added that “pupils’ safeguarding has been compromised by the inappropriate and informal exclusion of pupils and by the deliberate misrecording of attendance”.

Ofsted returned for a monitoring inspection in March. Today, it published the letter it sent to the interim headteacher, Claire Wright, after the visit.

“Since the last inspection, safeguarding systems, processes and procedures have been established," it says. "As this letter will show, you came in to support a school that was putting children at risk daily. This is no longer the case.”

However, the letter says the school has more work to do to improve “pupils’ understanding of how to keep themselves safe”.

“The most challenging of actions requiring attention is to improve pupils’ understanding of how to keep themselves safe,” it says.

“The opportunities across the curriculum are limited and while personal, social and health education has been introduced, the delivery of the programme is not effective. Pupils are not being given the necessary safeguarding knowledge and information in the curriculum.”

The letter also highlights the work of the school’s leadership in trying to build confidence among parents and teachers.

“Leaders have been working hard to gain the support and trust of the whole school community in the face of some significant hostility,” it says.

“This has been most evident from some parents. However, you have provided much-needed stability across a number of areas of the school and you are beginning to restore their confidence in it. Staff described the school as ‘feeling more like a school’ and they are confident in its future.”

On the issue of exclusions, the letter says: “Importantly, when exclusions have been issued, they are recorded correctly.”

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