Luton high school slammed in Ofsted report

Lea Manor found to be inadequate with leaders and governors coming under fire

By Lynn Hughes
Monday, 10th January 2022, 3:44 pm
Updated Tuesday, 11th January 2022, 11:22 am

Pupils at a Luton school find it difficult to learn and have stopped reporting bullying incidents because they have no faith it will be dealt with, a damning Ofsted report has said.

Lea Manor High School Performing Arts College has been judged to be inadequate, three years after Ofsted's last report which found it requires improvement.

"Pupils have not achieved well enough at this school for too long", said the inspectors. "Behaviour is poor and regularly interrupts learning.

Lea Manor High School - Google

"The needs of pupils with special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) are not met. This means they fall further behind. Pupils who are weak readers, including pupils with SEND, are not supported to catch up quickly. Low and inconsistent expectations of behaviour confuse pupils as to what is acceptable and what is not. Troublesome behaviour in corridors and around the school is a regular occurrence. Many pupils told inspectors they are ‘fed up with school.’"

Inspectors said many of the 1,039 pupils at the Northwell Drive school had stopped reporting incidents of bullying because they had no faith that staff are listening to then or how it would be dealt with.

"Leaders are failing to ensure that pupils receive an acceptable quality of education," says the report. "Weaknesses in planning for learning and pupils’ poor behaviour are not dealt with effectively. This has an impact on the quality of education offered in many subjects. Leaders are not doing enough to ensure that pupils with SEND, pupils who are learning English as an additional language and pupils who need to catch up with their reading achieve well."

The report criticised planning for learning, a failure to deal with poor behaviour, a lack of support for children with SEND or those learning English as a second language, and a lack of training for teachers to help pupils improve.

"Leaders are not sure whose responsibility it is to teach pupils to read," said inspectors." Leaders do not know enough about the different types of bullying occurring or the difference their improvement actions make. Over half of the parents responding to the Ofsted survey, Parent View, would not recommend the school. Many believe that pupils are not well behaved. While a new personal development programme has been introduced, the teaching of protected characteristics has been too little, too late, to make a difference for current pupils."

The governors also came in for criticism. The inspectors wrote: "Over time, governors have not identified the significant failings in the school. They do not check the accuracy of the information leaders give to them. Consequently, they have an overgenerous view of the quality of provision and so are ineffective in holding school leaders to account.

""The arrangements for safeguarding are not effective. Leaders and governors have not ensured that staff, including the safeguarding team, are appropriately trained. There are many failings. Staff are unsure who they should report concerns to. They are unclear about the signs that might indicate a safeguarding concern. The local authority has recently completed a review of safeguarding, but leaders have not implemented the actions needed."

The report slammed leaders and governors saying they were not fulfilling their roles effectively and that there was longstanding weaknesses in the quality of provision, staff training and safeguarding of pupils.

"Too many pupils experience unkindness, prejudiced views, and bullying. Learning is frequently disrupted by poor behaviour. Leaders must ensure that staff are clear about the school’s expectations of pupils’ behaviour and have the training they need to improve pupils’ behaviour rapidly. Leaders have not made the school a place where pupils are confident that their concerns will be dealt with effectively. Too many pupils feel they are not listened to and that their problem will not be resolved", said the report.

The school declined to comment.

Aslam Khan, Luton Council Portfolio Holder with responsibility for children’s services, said: “The council fully accepts the judgement from Ofsted and we would like to reassure parents, students and school staff that we will fully support Lea Manor to make improvements.

"As the school has been rated inadequate, we now have the legal powers to intervene and put measures in place to help accelerate the changes required. We will continue to work closely with the school and the Department for Education to progress matters in the best interests of students and to ensure children are safeguarded.”