A NORTH Yorkshire school where Ofsted inspectors found pupils raised concerns about the regular use of homophobic and racist language has been rated inadequate.

When inspectors visited Lady Lumley’s School in Pickering pupils said they were concerned about the regular use of homophobic and racist language and that when staff heard such language, it was not always challenged.

The school was inspected by Ofsted last October, however, publication of the report was delayed as the school challenged the findings and subsequently took legal action. A later appeal to the High Court failed to grant an injunction.

The report, which was made public today (Tuesday), describes Lady Lumley’s as a “school of contrasts” with inspectors noting that ‘a large minority of pupils have little confidence in the school’s ability to deal with bullying. School leaders feel they are addressing the bullying issues well but pupils do not agree. Some parents and carers share pupils’ views about the ineffective management of bullying’.

North Yorkshire County Council said the authority has been working closely with Lady Lumley’s for a number of months following the inspection.

A council spokesman said that on hearing about the bullying and prejudice verbally from Ofsted, the authority immediately conducted a full safeguarding review and also conducted a “student voice” exercise, interviewing students about their experience at school. The council also commissioned an independent review of behaviour and other issues raised in the report, which was carried out by a specialist, education consultancy.

The county council has now applied to set up an Interim Executive Board to support Lady Lumley’s School. It is also working with the secondary school and the Regional Schools Commissioner to find an academy sponsor as it moves towards academisation.

Judith Kirk, North Yorkshire’s Assistant Director for Education and Skills said: “Our responsibility is to make sure all children feel safe and valued to ensure they continue to have the best education.

“We have zero tolerance of bullying or prejudiced behaviour of any kind in our schools; it is a matter we take very, very seriously. We will now be working closely with the school, the wider school community and the Regional Schools Commissioner as Lady Lumley’s School moves towards academisation.

“We are very grateful to parents and carers for their support and understanding as we work together on the next chapter for the school.”