High-quality governance promised to support ‘inadequate’ Brompton Hall School

A damning Ofsted inspection at a Scarborough area school has seen swift action by North Yorkshire County Council to address a number of concerns.

By Louise Perrin
Friday, 8th October 2021, 3:04 pm
Updated Friday, 8th October 2021, 3:06 pm

The inspection, which took place at Brompton Hall School on June 9-10 this year, highlighted a range of shocking issues at the 70-strong all-boy school.

The report highlights a significant number of incidents of poor behaviour at the residential special school, which led to physical restraint regularly being used on pupils.

In reaction to the report, an Interim Executive Board has been established to provide high-quality governance to support the school.

Brompton Hall School, Brompton-by-Sawdon

The Ofsted report stated: “Many pupils and staff do not feel safe. The school is not calm and orderly.

“Staff feel that they have been ‘firefighting’ some pupils’ disruptive behaviour for some time.

“Some staff lack confidence in using techniques to de-escalate unacceptable behaviour because they have not had sufficient training.

“When pupils reach crisis point, it can lead to increasingly dangerous behaviour that puts them and staff at risk.

“Leaders do not take prompt action where pupils may be vulnerable or at risk.

“The curriculum is not ambitious and does not support pupils to achieve well.”

In addition some pupils abscond from school while others have been found on the school roof, it said.

The inspectors noted: “Some pupils sit their examinations in Years 9 and 10 … because many pupils have weak attendance by the time they reach Year 11.

“Rather than taking suitable action to improve pupils’ attendance, leaders have made the

decision to enter pupils for examinations early.

“Pupils are not prepared well for life in modern Britain. Racist, homophobic and other inappropriate language is commonplace.

“Pupils told inspectors that they know how to keep safe online.

“However, the school’s own records show that there are a number of internet searches made by pupils that are inappropriate, and these are a cause for concern.

“Safer recruitment checks on staff are not robust. Necessary checks are not carried out on work-experience and alternative education providers to ensure that pupils are safe.

To address these concerns, a number of measures have been put in place by the local authority.

Amanda Newbold, Assistant Director for Education and Skills, said: “An Interim Executive Board (IEB) has been established providing interim expertise and high-quality governance to support Brompton Hall School to improve standards of education and to take the special school forward into academisation.

“The County Council is working with the school and the Regional Schools Commissioner to find an academy sponsor and is implementing an IEB to ensure the school has strong governance in place during this period of transition.

“We will work closely with the school, the wider school community, parents, carers and pupils as we approach the next chapter for the school.”

The Interim Executive Board is made up of a number of other experienced educational experts with backgrounds in leading and advising schools.

Gary Fielding, Chair of the Interim Executive Board said: “We will be providing Brompton Hall School with strong governance over the coming months to successfully navigate the transition towards academisation.

“Our clear priority will be ensuring high quality education and care for pupils and that the school provides an environment in which they can thrive.”

Mr Fielding is North Yorkshire County Council’s Corporate Director of Strategic Resources.

He has experience of sitting on the governing bodies of a number of schools in North Yorkshire, both on interim executive boards as schools transition to academies and also sitting on permanent governing bodies.