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Byron Court Primary School To Be Academy After Ofsted Report

A primary school is set to be converted into an academy after it tumbled from Ofsted’s highest to lowest rating.

According to an Ofsted report, leadership at Byron Court Primary School in North Wembley was “overwhelmed”, with breaktimes “chaotic”, with responses to bullying “inconsistent”, and racist language and sexual harassment not thoroughly dealt with.

Inspectors from the education watchdog who visited the site on November 28 and 29 last year gave the school its lowest ‘inadequate’ rating – after an ‘outstanding’ rating in 2012.

As a result, headteacher Martyn Boxall will be standing down at the end of the school term and the school will be joining an academy trust.

It is government policy for local authority-funded schools that are found to be ‘inadequate’ to become academies.

In a letter sent out to parents yesterday (March 11), the school apologised for the “shock and disappointment” of the report and said the school will continue to be led by acting head Richard Sternberg.

Mr Boxall was “absent from the school” during the inspection last year.

Ofsted found the school to be ‘inadequate’ (Image: PA)

Acting head Mr Sternberg informed parents the school had been issued with an academy order by the Department for Education (DfE). The school claimed it is “working hard to address issues current and historical”.

Mr Sternberg wrote: “Governors are committed to keeping everyone informed of events and the academy order process. Therefore we are letting you know that we have been informed that the London Regions Group is proposing that Byron Court Primary School join Harris Federation.”

He added: “I am sorry that this has been a shock and a disappointment to you. Please be assured we’re determined to see this an opportunity for change and improvement in our school, and we are working hard to make that happen.”

READ ALSO: Appeal launched after plans for new casino refused Harris Federation is a multi-academy trust (MAT). It runs 54 primary and secondary schools across London and Essex.

Located on Spencer Road, Byron Court currently provides education to 872 pupils, ranging from ages four to 11.

The school was exempt from routine inspection until November 2020 after its 2012 rating.

But when they returned last year, inspectors found significant changes in leadership left the school with “insufficient capacity to run effectively”.

The report stated that “too much responsibility is held by too few people”.

Inspectors wrote: “Pupils throughout the school use racist language casually, as part of their day-to-day conversations. Incidents of homophobic behaviour are not adequately addressed.”

In some lessons, pupils disrupted their own and others’ learning, while the school’s response to serious misbehaviour is “inconsistent and ineffective”.

Ofsted pinned these issues to the school lacking “the necessary leadership capacity to improve”.

After the initial report, Mr Sternberg told the Brent & Kilburn Times in February that the areas of improvement “must be addressed urgently”.

He added: “The leadership team and governors have already started making significant improvements to ensure that the school provides the best possible learning environment for children.”

Councillor Gwen Grahl, cabinet member for children, young people and schools said: “The situation at Byron Court Primary School following its recent Ofsted report is understandably causing concern among parents, pupils and teaching staff.

“As a local authority we have been working closely with the school’s leadership team to provide support with the issues raised in Ofsted’s report. A new Chair and Vice Chair of Governors are now in place and we are working closely with them to ensure that the necessary improvements are made as quickly as possible at the school.

“We feel that the oversight offered by the local authority is invaluable, for teaching staff, pupils and the wider community and wherever and whenever possible we always encourage schools to remain part of the Brent family of council maintained schools.

“Regrettably, the legal position is that schools with an ‘inadequate’ rating must become academies following the issue of an academy order. This decision now rests with the Secretary of State for Education.”