Byron Court Primary School in North Wembley plummeted from the education watchdog’s best ‘outstanding’ status to its worst – ‘inadequate’ – in its first report since 2012.
Inspectors found that leadership at the school was “overwhelmed” when they visited on November 28 and 29 last year.
Rating it ‘indequate’ across the board, they found misbehaviour rife, and that racist language was normal and sexual harassment not being thoroughly dealt with.
Issues at the Spencer Road School included inconsistent responses to bullying, racist language and homophobic behaviour.
Pupils were seen to disrupt their own and others’ learning in lessons and breaktimes were described as “chaotic”, while the school’s response to serious misbehaviour was “inconsistent and ineffective “.
In a statement, acting headteacher Richard Sternberg said the school acknowledges that the areas of improvement identified “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.”
Ofsted pinned these issues to the school lacking “the necessary leadership capacity to improve”, stating “too much responsibility is held by too few people”.
Mr Sternberg responded: “We take this judgment extremely seriously and will use it as an opportunity for growth and positive change. The well-being and educational development of our children is paramount.
“As a school community, we are committed to addressing the recommendations highlighted by Ofsted and are confident, with changes already made and those intended as a result of our comprehensive improvement plan, that substantial progress will be achieved across the whole school this academic year.”
He also pointed to how no problems were noted regarding the school’s safeguarding arrangements.
The acting head said: “Whilst the report identifies many areas for improvement, it also noted some strengths within the school, including effective safeguarding, attendance and the many enrichment activities planned successfully to help broaden pupils’ experiences. We will continue to build on these to improve on the progress we have made so far.”
Ofsted said: “Staff are supportive of the interim leadership arrangements and are keen to work with leaders at all levels to bring about improvements. They were especially positive about the support they are offered with their well-being.”
Brent Council explained it has been working closely with the school’s leadership team to address the issues raised.
A spokesperson said: “A new chair and vice chair of governors are now in place following the resignation of the previous chair and vice chair. Our absolute priority is the wellbeing of the school’s pupils, who deserve the best quality education.”