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Bury St Edmunds County Upper School told it still needs to improve safeguarding two years after 'inadequate' Ofsted rating




A Bury St Edmunds secondary school rated 'inadequate' by Ofsted two years ago due to concerns over pupils' safety has been told it still needs to improve safeguarding.

Leaders at County Upper School, in Beeton's Way, were told by the education watchdog in 2019 that they had 'failed to take all reasonable steps to ensure pupils’ safety' and governors had a 'limited understanding' of local risks including county-lines drug dealing and gang-related activity.

However, a follow-up Section 8 inspection on February 25 found that 'safeguarding was judged not to be effective', according to a letter to parents.

County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds has been told it still needs to improve safeguarding. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography
County Upper School in Bury St Edmunds has been told it still needs to improve safeguarding. Picture: Mark Bullimore Photography

The letter from headteacher Nick Froy said: "We know from the amazing support the school receives that many of you will feel the same frustration and disappointment that the trust, staff and governors feel when reading about this particular aspect of the school. However, as staff, governors and trust, we accept the findings and the need to address the issues raised immediately."

Since the inspection, he said they had established closer links with Suffolk County Council and accepted they needed to communicate more about the safeguarding measures in place.

Mr Froy said they were devising an action plan which will focus on raising awareness of all areas of safeguarding across the school and involve all relevant outside agencies.

"We expect a further Section 8 inspection later this term and we are confident that we will quickly ensure that safeguarding be judged effective," he said.

Tim Coulson, chief executive of County's trust Unity Schools Partnership, noted that Ofsted described education at the school as 'high quality' but accepted the comments around safeguarding.

A new headteacher Sally Kennedy will join County Upper in September after long-term head Vicky Neale retired.

News from our universities, local primary and secondary schools including Ofsted inspections and league tables can be found here.

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