Birmingham & Black Country

Al-Hijrah School: Teachers 'intimidated' by governors

Al-Hijrah School Image copyright Google
Image caption The school was placed in special measures last year

Teachers in a Birmingham school were "intimidated" and hindered by governors, say Ofsted inspectors.

The watchdog heard claims that teachers at the Al-Hijrah School felt "governors and the former head teacher had deliberately obstructed their work".

Ofsted's findings were from its second monitoring inspection of the Islamic faith school since it was placed in special measures last December.

The latest report said teachers were "optimistic" about the school's future.

Inspectors observed some lessons where teachers "allowed pupils to drop litter on the floor, write graffiti on desks and walls and leave books, pens and pencils strewn across tables", though there was "some good teaching".

A new interim executive board (IEB) was installed at the Bordesley Green school in June, after being previously turned away on three separate occasions.

'Much talk'

Ofsted discovered former governors authorised the spending of £25,700 on a "leadership consultant" described only as a "former chair of a governing body of a Birmingham school".

Inspectors "found no evidence to prove any positive impact" of that work and said the chairman of the IEB had since severed the contract.

During a visit on 24 and 25 June, inspectors found Al-Hijrah was still "failing" some pupils but noted positive changes were under way following the recent introduction of a new senior leadership team from Calthorpe School in Highgate. It is rated outstanding with teaching school status and is now converting to academy status.

Inspectors said the former governors had engaged in "much talk" about making improvements "but there was little action at classroom level".

The report found former governors and the head teacher "decided to stop senior leaders visiting lessons to monitor teaching" for example.

Ofsted however found there was now "a sense of resounding optimism" among teachers as to Al-Hijrah's future.

The school's budget deficit, the exact size of which Ofsted said was unknown, remained "very high" having been run up under the old governors' stewardship, however the IEB has launched a full audit.

Birmingham City Council was also praised as it "successfully tackled very complex and sensitive issues in order to commission support for the school and ensure a new IEB was in place."

The school is not linked to the ongoing Trojan horse investigation in the city.

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