Bulwell primary school pupils 'at risk of considerable harm' due to lack of safeguarding

Cantrell Primary School in Cantrell Road, Bulwell
-Credit: (Image: Joseph Raynor/ Nottingham Post)

Pupils at a Nottingham primary school are "at risk of considerable harm" due to a lack of safeguarding measures, an inspection has found. Cantrell Primary and Nursery School in Bulwell was criticised by Ofsted for not being "sufficiently robust" when responding to concerns over children's welfare.

The regulator, which graded the school 'inadequate', said new members of staff were not always subject to the necessary checks, meaning the school could not be assured they are suitable to work with children. Ofsted, which visited on March 26, also said some pupils felt they were not listened to over bullying concerns and criticised governors for having an "inaccurate, over-optimistic view of the school’s effectiveness".

However, the school's nursery was praised for giving kids a "flying start". In a letter to parents, headteacher Deborah Weaver said it was "clearly a disappointing" report but promised steps were being taken to act on the concerns.

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The report, published on May 23, said Cantrell, which has 463 pupils between the ages of three and 11, put pupils at risk as its responses to concerns over wellbeing "are not always timely enough".

"Some pupils have little confidence that the school will address concerns about their safety. This is because they do not believe that leaders take their views seriously," it reads. "There are too many weaknesses in the school’s approach to safeguarding that leave pupils and staff at risk of considerable harm."

However it said this does not extend to its early years provision. Inspectors said concerns about staff’s conduct, including towards pupils, that should be passed to other authorities are not always referred on appropriately.

Some pupils do not tell staff about bullying as they are "not confident that staff will act to improve things", the report added. Ofsted said fights and aggressive behaviour are not consistently managed and added staff "do not feel supported well enough in their work".

"They lack confidence in the school’s leadership and are not convinced that their well-being is sufficiently taken into account," said the report. However inspectors said the school has a "well-planned and sequenced early years curriculum", which has a strong relationship with parents and carers.

They also praised for its support for pupils who struggle to read.

'Clearly a disappointing report'

Headteacher Ms Weaver said: "In terms of safeguarding all aspects identified in the report are being swiftly acted upon to ensure systems and processes for keeping pupils safe meet statutory requirements, that record-keeping is fit for purpose and all staff know and understand their responsibilities."

Nick Lee, Director of Education at Nottingham City Council, said: “This is clearly a disappointing Ofsted report but parents and carers can be reassured that actions have been taken already to address the concerns highlighted. We will work alongside the school’s leadership to bring about swift and lasting improvements.

“Inspectors’ concerns around safeguarding will clearly be prioritised as part of that. Pupil safety and wellbeing is of the utmost importance and the school is being supported to ensure that pupils, parents and carers enjoy a safe, positive and happy experience attending Cantrell."