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King's Lynn's Howard Junior School rated inadequate following head teacher Greg Hill's arrest

An emergency inspection carried out at a school after its head teacher was arrested in front of pupils and parents has found it to be inadequate.

Ofsted inspectors discovered “serious failings” at Howard Junior School in Gaywood which they said had been “unchallenged for too long”.

It comes after Howard’s head teacher Greg Hill was detained at the premises on suspicion of stalking on Monday, March 6. Mr Hill, who was suspended from his role of 16 years, was released on bail until May 10.

Howard Junior School in Gaywood has been rated as inadequate
Howard Junior School in Gaywood has been rated as inadequate

An emergency inspection was then undertaken on March 13 and 14, with a report published today stating that pupils trust the staff to look after them – with their confidence justified in “most instances”.

“However, the trustees and members who are meant to check that children are safe do not always do so,” they added.

Ofsted rated Howard Junior School ‘good’ for behaviour and attitudes, but ‘requires improvement’ for the quality of education and personal development, and ‘inadequate’ for leadership and management.

Howard Junior School’s head teacher Greg Hill, who was suspended after being arrested at the premises in March
Howard Junior School’s head teacher Greg Hill, who was suspended after being arrested at the premises in March

The overall effectiveness rating was inadequate – a drop from the ‘good’ grade from its last inspection in 2017.

The report adds that relationships between staff and pupils are “positive and warm” and pupils “appreciate the exciting playground area and immersive displays in corridors and classrooms”.

“Nevertheless, these do not make up for the weak quality of education pupils receive,” it says.

“Pupils throughout the school do not achieve as well as they should because leaders have prioritised the appearance of the building at the expense of the curriculum.”

Mr Hill pictured at the school during a Children in Need event
Mr Hill pictured at the school during a Children in Need event

However, pupils are “positive about their education and talk enthusiastically” about the school, and are “happy and play well together”.

As for safeguarding, the arrangements are “not effective”, with leaders and trustees not handling “allegations of staff misconduct well”.

“Reports of staff misconduct are poorly handled, meaning issues are allowed to persist,” the report adds.

“Inspectors did not identify any pupils who were harmed because of these weaknesses.”

But pupils learn how to stay safe and staff know how to identify and report concerns about pupils.

The report says the school curriculum is “suitably broad”, but “too often lessons fail to build on what pupils already know” and teachers “rely too heavily on exams and test papers”.

“This approach does not provide staff with the precise information they need to identify gaps in pupils’ knowledge,” it adds.

Inspectors also identified that staff were “committed but many feel ground down”.

“They know that the school should be better but feel powerless to make suggestions or express concerns,” they said.

“They do not report their grievances as they have little confidence in the process and are fearful of the backlash this may cause.”

For the school, which is part of the Apollo Academies Trust, to improve, members and trustees must ensure they undertake “appropriate training to understand their roles” and “agree their purpose, policy and approaches to ensure that appropriate checks are made on leaders’ work”.

Staff must also be given appropriate training and resources to deliver the curriculum effectively.

“Leaders must ensure that they gather, and reflect on, the views of parents and their knowledge of the community to tailor the personal, social and health education (PSHE) and relationships and sex education (RSE) curriculums to provide the greatest benefit to the pupils,” it concludes.

Following the inspection, Helen Wardale, chair of trustees at Howard Junior School, said the leadership team has already started acting on the report’s findings.

She said: “The trustees of the school asked me to join as their chair for the new school term, following this Ofsted inspection.

“As Norfolk County Council’s lead for governance, I have many years of experience in supporting schools to improve and I have already started to act on Ofsted’s findings, alongside the acting headteachers.

“We have carried out a safeguarding audit, in partnership with the county council, and I am confident teachers and trustees now know the correct safeguarding policies and procedures.

“We are also implementing a scheme targeting the specific areas of reading and personal, social and health education (PSHE) and we are strengthening the curriculum.”

She added: “From the short time I have been here, it is clear to see there is a dedicated teaching team and acting leaders, who are determined to do their best for the children.

“Children feel safe and supported in school and their behaviour and attitude to learning is really positive.

“I am confident we can build on these strengths so children at Howard Junior are getting the very best education.”

Mr Hill

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