School at centre of 'fake racism' video row celebrates Ofsted joy

Pupils and staff at Stuart Bathurst Catholic High School are celebrating a Good Ofsted after coming out of special measures
Pupils and staff at Stuart Bathurst Catholic High School are celebrating a Good Ofsted after coming out of special measures -Credit:Stuart Bathurst School

It's a school that was in the headlines earlier this month when one of its teachers was the unwitting victim of a fake 'racism' video. Now Stuart Bathurst Catholic High School in Wednesbury is celebrating a glowing Ofsted which they hope will bring the curtain down on an unsavoury affair.

The turnaround at the previously 'inadequate' school has been so rapid that Ofsted inspectors put it up two grades to Good in its report, which was shared with parents this week. "Pupils and staff talk about how much improvement there has been...higher expectations mean pupils have more pride in their school...pupils are confident that they are learning what they will need for future success," say inspectors.

They praised a revitalised curriculum, a new 'behaviour curriculum' that embeds good choices, and the respect encouraged between pupils through their Saint programme. "The school has high expectations of pupils’ behaviour; most pupils meet these standards," they said.

READ MORE: 'My heart is full' says teacher at centre of viral racism video storm after massive support

Executive head Richard May said it was a delight to be talking about the school in such positive terms after a very challenging week that he had described as the toughest in his teaching career. One of his female teachers was victimised in a fake video that went viral in which she appeared to be saying a racist term while out canvassing with a teacher colleague during the recent local elections. It was untrue, but the falsely captioned video reached hundreds of thousands of people before it was taken down. The teacher and the school was bombarded with abusive messages and demands to sack her.

As reported by Birmingham Live, the teacher was left distraught by the allegation. One of those who heavily promoted it was lawyer and would-be Birmingham MP Akhmed Yakoob. Mr Yakoob has so far not answered enquiries about the video and has never apologised to the teacher involved, though has said he removed the video from all his social media accounts when alerted to its falsehoods.

In a letter to parents, Mr May said the Ofsted outcome it was "validation for all the hard work". "Our efforts and your support have paid dividends and I’m delighted to tell you that Stuart Bathurst Catholic High School hasn't just improved by one OFSTED grading but two, making an unprecedented jump from grade 4 (Inadequate) to grade 2 (Good) in all areas.

"This is an exceptional achievement for our school community. The pace of change and improvement accelerated significantly when the school joined the St John Bosco Multi-Academy in April 2020. I want to celebrate and recognise the contribution and support provided."

Sixth formers and teachers are celebrating the Good rating from Ofsted for the school
Sixth formers and teachers are celebrating the Good rating from Ofsted for the school -Credit:Stuart Bathurst School

Inspectors praised the school's support for pupils with difficulties reading, and those with special educational needs. The school's expert support for the weakest readers means these pupils "are making excellent progress".

"Improving support for pupils with special educational needs and disabilities has been a priority...the school now has a strong process in a result, these pupils are now achieving well. They are also being well prepared for their next steps in education and wider life."

However, Ofsted highlighted that there are 'a few pupils who "have not fully bought into the school’s culture of respect." They make inappropriate comments to other pupils which 'they know are unacceptable but continue regardless. This means that some pupils do not feel fully respected for who they are.' The school is also working hard to improve pupils’ attendance. "This includes focused work with pupils and their families. However, absence and persistent absence levels remain too high. This impacts on how well these pupils are able to learn and achieve." In some subjects, the school is not equipping sixth-form students as well as it could for independent thinking and study, inspectors also said.

The full report is published on the school's website.