‘There is still much more to be done’ at Highfield Humanities College in South Shore.
That was the message from Blackpool Council’s resilient communities cabinet secretary Graham Cain, who spoke out after Ofsted inspectors found the school to be ‘at times unsafe’ for pupils to attend.
The last high school under local authority control – set to become an academy under the control of Tauheedul Education Trust in a matter of weeks– will remain in special measures after the inspectors became so concerned about pupil’s behaviour they ordered senior teachers to write an action plan before their visit was over.
Coun Cain said: “When the inspectors visited the school before Christmas I was as concerned as everyone else by their findings.
“As a local authority we immediately put in place a series of measures to ensure that the behaviour and therefore the safety of students was a top priority.
“Any parent whose child attends a school expects them to be safe, well-educated and instilled with a desire to succeed.
“These are fundamental principles that Highfield is working towards and this latest inspection report shows that they are heading the right direction.
“There is still much to be done and we will continue to liaise closely with the school as they work through this difficult time.”
Inspectors saw students running through the school’s atrium, leaving scattered tables and chairs, were told by pupils fights regularly break out, and spoke to parents and teachers who also expressed concern about poor behaviour from a small group of unruly students.
In his report, inspector Patrick Geraghty said: “An unpredictable and over-boisterous atmosphere was evident. The behaviour of a significant minority of pupils is unacceptable.
Ofsted’s visit came days after teachers called in police when up to 200 were described as out of control after a spat between two schoolboys led to a crowd of students chasing each other.
But inspectors also found there is ‘some good teaching’ and the majority of youngsters want to do well in class, showing ‘a palpable desire’ and expressing ‘an energy and ambition for betting learning’.
Headteacher Lynette Norris said: “Everyone at the school is striving to address these as quickly as possible to ensure all students have the opportunity to reach their potential.
“School improvement does not happen overnight and there is still much work to do. We are taking robust action to improve behaviour.”