When this blog did what the media didn’t, and named Burwood School as the venue of a serious assault on two teachers by a 10-year-old pupil, we took a look at the Ofsted inspection report from 2011.
The report mentioned concerns by parents and carers about safety at the school, but this was offset by the inclusion of the finding that:
Burwood is a safe school
students are unanimous in confirming that they feel safe in school
At the time we said that:
Given the incident that has taken place, that assessment finding should surely come in for substantial scrutiny – something any half decent media would be focusing attention on.
The media, God love them, haven’t got that far yet. Only the Daily Mail seems to have dug deeper into the story. What the Mail has done is obtain comment from the parents of Diane Whitehead, the teacher whose leg was shattered and kneecap dislocated in the incident. Although some people speculated the injury may have been caused by an awkward fall while restraining the child, it transpires the injury came as a result of a deliberate karate-style kick to the leg moments after the boy had headbutted another female teacher in the face, knocking her unconscious.
What stands out in the interview is the previously unreported news that Ms Whitehead suffered another assault at the school in 2009 that resulted in two broken ribs. Reports of this previous incident cannot be found in the archives of the local or national press. It appears to have been hushed up. However, 2009 was the year that Ofsted took Burwood School out of special measures, having been placed in them after the 2007 inspection.
So what we have is a substandard level of performance at Burwood in 2007 necessitating special measures… sufficient progress supposedly being made to take the school out of special measures in 2009 – the year Ms Whitehead suffered the previous serious assault… parents and carers expressing concern about safety at the school in 2011 which Ofsted appears not to have investigated more deeply despite observations of behavioural management issues… then this grievous double assault in 2012.
Ofsted has questions to answer in respect of its inspections at Burwood School:
- Did the assault in 2009 take place before or after the Ofsted inspection?
- If the assault preceded the inspection, were Ofsted told about it?
- If Ofsted were told, was it taken into account when lifting the school out of special measures?
- If the assault followed the inspection, were Ofsted told about it?
- If Ofsted were told, did they consider another inspection?
- Were the Ofsted inspectors conducting the 2011 inspection aware of the 2009 assault?
- If they were aware, why did the school get a satisfactory rating despite safety concerns of several parents and carers and evidence of issues around behaviour management?
- If they were not aware, why did the inspectors not investigate the parental concerns more vigorously?
As the media is not asking them, we will. An FOI request is on its way and we will return to this subject when we have received a reply.