Ultra-strict school gets ‘inadequate’ Ofsted


n ultra-strict school where children have been made to “chant about good behaviour” has been rated ‘inadequate’ – with Ofsted concerned about students’ attitudes.

Parents have complained that the school has taken a militant approach to leading Abbey School in Faversham, Kent. They said children were ordered to attend ‘discipline assemblies’ and fold their arms when they speak.

The school is led by Rowland Speller but in October was visited by Hackney headteacher Barry Smith, dubbed as Britain’s strictest head. It appears that some of his tough love measures have been adopted and the Abbey School confirmed last year that a number of rules have been introduced to enhance its “culture of politeness, courtesy and respect”.

Ofsted said “the way that leaders implement these expectations does not contribute positively to the culture of the school,” and downgraded its overall rating from ‘good’.

The report from the May inspection added: “For the majority of pupils, these approaches are applied in a manner that is overly restrictive. Many pupils find this oppressive.”

Despite the tough line, Ofsted found bullying is not addressed adequately. The subcategory of leadership and management was also found to be ‘inadequate’ and personal development was found to require improvement.

“Most of the kids I know are getting anxious, upset and don’t want to go to school because they’re so scared they’re going to get in trouble over silly things,” a parent told Kent Online.

It has not been stated whether Mr Smith’s request at his London school for students to be in bed by 9.30pm and up at 6.30am have been translated across.

The Abbey School has not responded to the Ofsted result. However, the reporter was sent a press release detailing its record-breaking A level results announced last week.

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