OFSTED inspectors have issued a damning report about a Selby school after they were told about frequent bullying, homophobic abuse and pupils feeling unsafe.

Their report rated Barlby High School as ‘inadequate’ – the lowest of four possible ratings.

The school of almost 600 pupils became an academy school in September 2017.

Hope Sentamu Learning Trust, which runs Barlby High, said it had made changes to the school’s leadership team before Christmas as part of an action plan to tackle the issues raised in the report.

The report stated: “Many pupils at this school feel unsafe. There are areas of the school site that some pupils, especially younger pupils, avoid. This is because they feel vulnerable, especially when teachers are not present. 

“Many pupils told inspectors that they do not report bullying because the problem will get worse. They do not believe that teachers can deal with bullying effectively. 

“Some pupils said that homophobic language is used regularly around school. Others told inspectors that they had been victims of homophobic abuse.”

Elsewhere, the report stated that bullying was “an ongoing problem for a significant number of pupils” and that homophobic language was “not dealt with effectively by leaders".

Behaviour and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management at the school were all judged to be ‘inadequate’, while the quality of education fared slightly better as it ‘required improvement’.

The report did point out that many pupils spoke warmly about relationships with teachers, that attempts to help pupils with the most extreme behaviour were “more successful” and that teachers felt well supported by colleagues in their departments.

In a letter to parents and carers, Hope Sentamu’s CEO Helen Winn personally apologised for the “very disappointing” findings. 

A spokesperson for Barlby High said: “The health, safety and wellbeing of our students are paramount and we are working exceptionally hard to resolve the very important issues that Ofsted has highlighted.

“Central to this is the action plan that we have drawn up and which we are already enacting. This includes the introduction before Christmas of a new executive leadership model for Barlby High School, which means that the school now has additional leadership capacity, expertise and support. 

“The trust’s very experienced trust inclusion lead is also now working alongside the school inclusion team, and we are in the process of recruiting additional behaviour managers and a new full-time support services manager.

“We are already seeing the benefits of these new arrangements and are confident that they will contribute strongly to rapid and sustained improvement.”