Burwood School assault – the questions Ofsted must answer

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

and that:

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.

10 Responses to “Burwood School assault – the questions Ofsted must answer”

  1. 1 David Jones 15/01/2012 at 5:15 am

    Excellent work. The terrier has his teeth locked onto this one!

  2. 2 Edward. 15/01/2012 at 10:12 am

    Who is the lunatic teaching a 10yr old [for God’s sake – already the child is lost] how to damage human beings [people who are there to aid and teach] in such a way?
    If it/he/she has been taught in an oriental ‘self defence’ form, then the sensei wants striking off and the dojo closing down.

    Ofsted; “Burwood is a safe school” ?? – same way of thinking that passed Mid Staffs trust of hygienic and safe hospitals…. Mind numbing ostrich-esque stupidity

    Who regulates and oversees the regulators…but why should it be necessary….necessary because, er – they all work for the same team [and doubtless are joined ‘at the hip’ in the same public sector union].

  3. 3 JuliaM 15/01/2012 at 12:31 pm

    Edward, I doubt anyone (other than tv and video games) ‘taught’ him – note the ‘Mail’ says it was a ‘karate-style kick’….

  4. 4 dave ward 15/01/2012 at 12:53 pm

    If the little shits behave like that at the tender age of 10 years old, this should be one of the schools (is that the right description?) which has a permanent police or military presence. A job for Steven Seagal, perhaps?

  5. 5 john in cheshire 15/01/2012 at 1:05 pm

    AM, I’m gratified that someone has the time and determination to pursue these matters; good on you. I’m shocked that teachers have been been harmed at all (never mind that this assault was so serious) by the children they are trying to teach and wish them well. I wonder, though, if they are also part of the vast majority of teachers who are clearly socialist in their outlook and are now reaping what has been sown in the education system for the past 50 or more years?

  6. 6 Edward. 15/01/2012 at 6:58 pm

    @ JuliaM,

    To administer a kick thus would suggest to me a certain degree of inculcated ‘expertise’. The teacher in question [has my sincerest good wishes – no one should have to suffer such an assault in any walk of life] must have suffered immense pain. A blow to the kneecap, is done purposely to maim an opponent – to make this type of kick does require instruction, how can a ten year old child make this sort of decision, unless – he has received some type of martial arts tuition? And remember he nutted the first teacher – he/she has gone into ‘fight mode’.

    One has to wonder, there are many so called dodgy backstreet gyms training all sorts of kids and teenagers, these gyms have no formal discipline, still less, teach the ethics and morals of codes which are very strict [what ultimately is a means of self defence and this, or should be ‘hammered’ into learners].

    Or, it could be just a lucky kick, though I very much doubt it.

  7. 7 Brian H 18/01/2012 at 7:51 am

    “Satisfactory” to whom? Ofsted and the kids?

  8. 8 Alexander K 01/02/2012 at 10:15 pm

    I suffered an assault by a large and very athletic 16 yr-old pupil who was a keen and competent amateur boxer at a Comprehensive in Berkshire in 2004. I am 6’1″ and have always kept myself reasonably fit. I was 65 at the time and approaching compulsory retirement due to my age and was stunned when told by a senior member of staff that the assault was ‘my fault as I was attempting to prevent the ‘child’ from leaving my classroom’ when I had seen keeping pupils in my classroom and ‘on task’ as a major part of my teaching role. I was also warned, under threat of being fired, by the then head teacher, not to talk to the press about the serious behavioural problems in the school which were overwhelming some younger members of staff. After having my ribs strapped (two were fractured) I decided to take a month’s sick leave before retiring.
    In my view, formed after teaching in what I saw as four fairly rough comprehensives in the UK following a number of years of successful teaching in New Zealand State schools, that Ofsted, along with major elements of State Education in the UK, is not fit for purpose.

  9. 9 Brian H 26/03/2012 at 4:56 pm

    Society and the schools are going to have to confront and deal with the issue of socially frontal-lobotomized “children” in some effective manner. I haven’t any recommendations, but making teachers patsies for their dysfunction would not be part of any I had.

  1. 1 What does Ofsted mean by ‘Satisfactory’? « Autonomous Mind Trackback on 17/01/2012 at 11:06 pm
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