The former ‘exceptional’ school has implemented special measures against ‘unlawful discrimination’ against pupils

One of the nation’s top performing grammar schools has been the subject of special measures after it was downgraded from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’ by Ofsted.

King David High School, a Jewish public school in Crumpsall with 800 students, has been accused of “unlawful discrimination” against students on the grounds of gender by the school watchdog.

The school was last rated as “outstanding” following an inspection in May 2015.

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King David High School consists of a main school and two separate streams – Yavneh Girls and Yavneh Boys, which provide Modern Orthodox Jewish education at the secondary level.

But in a damning assessment, inspectors said: “The school unlawfully discriminates against students attending Yavneh Girls with respect to the protected characteristic of sex.

“Students who attend Yavneh Girls, unlike Yavneh Boys students and Main School students, are deprived of the opportunity to mingle socially with boys and girls in other parts of the school.

“This constitutes prejudice to these students because of their gender. Leaders and Governors must act to fulfill their duties under the Equality Act 2010 by ensuring that they do not discriminate against Yavneh Girls students because of the sex.”

While students at the Main School and Yavneh Boys enjoyed a range of extracurricular activities, inspectors said Yavneh Girls students did not have the same access.

Yavneh Girls students have felt “isolated” under current arrangements, according to the report.

Ofsted downgraded school from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’

Ofsted previously accused the school of ‘unlawful segregation’ of pupils ‘on grounds of faith, belief and sex’ following an inspection in 2019.

The school was deemed ‘inadequate’ at the time, but the report was eventually overturned after the watchdog was threatened with legal action.

Following the last inspection last November, Ofsted rated the effectiveness of leadership and management and the personal development of pupils as “insufficient”.

While the other three categories – teaching quality, behavior and attitudes, and sixth grade teaching – were rated as “good”, the school’s “overall effectiveness” was rated as “insufficient”.

School Governors Chairman Joshua Rowe wrote to parents challenging the findings, which he described as “absurd” and “absurd”.

Mr Rowe said a legal challenge to the result of the inspection could also follow, but said he intended to step down from his role “as soon as possible”.

Ofsted’s report also found “widespread failures in how leaders protect students from harm”, describing “a legacy of chaotic safeguarding practices”.

“Some students are reluctant to report backup issues to staff,” the inspectors said.

“They have little confidence that staff will take their concerns seriously. This is particularly the case for students who are worried about their mental health, physical safety and issues around peer abuse.

“These students explained that they were hesitant to report concerns because of how some staff members might react.”

King David High School has been accused of discriminating against students because of their gender

Inspectors said “a significant minority” of pupils felt unable to share their concerns with staff, with some feeling anxious and unsafe because they felt staff were not treating them with respect.

The school was also found to have failed to follow legal guidelines when carrying out safe recruitment checks on staff, with “leaders unable to provide a satisfactory explanation of how they handled the allegations against adults who may pose a risk to students.

Board members were also accused of “interfering” with the day-to-day running of the school, “hindering the ability of senior leaders to take appropriate action to improve the school and protect students.”

In a letter to parents, Mr Rowe said the report failed to paint a ‘fair and balanced picture of the school’.

“The report presents a picture of the school that is unrecognizable to those who know it,” he added.

“It is perfectly legitimate for Ofsted to highlight areas that need improvement. We welcome constructive criticism, but their sweeping negative statements and massive downgrade go well beyond the mark and border on the absurd.”

Mr Rowe pointed to several changes he said had recently been introduced at the school, which he claimed Ofsted had “virtually ignored”.

He added: “School leaders and staff have made a tremendous effort over the past two years to provide teaching and learning during the Covid period and to look after the well-being of our students, but this was also ignored by Ofsted.

“As for backup we think the evidence base is not well founded.

“Also, as is the case with all schools, there will always be instances where the school could have done better, but in general our school makes a tremendous effort to ensure the safety and well-being of students. pupils and this has been recognized in all previous Ofsted reports, including the 2019 report which rated the protection as ‘effective’.”

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