Top-performing school rapped over bullying

Top-performing school rapped over bullying

Top-performing school rapped over bullying

First published in News
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A TOP-PERFORMING school has been rapped by the Government for breaching its own bullying policy after a complaint from a parent whose daughter attempted suicide.

The Department for Education (DoE) found that Egglescliffe School, in Eaglescliffe, Stockton-on-Tees, was at fault as it failed to properly record bullying incidents against the victim, who had been targeted since her arrival at the school in 2010.

The teenager, who has special educational needs, found the bullying so unbearable that she was too afraid to go to school and attempted suicide. She has since moved to a different school.

Her mother said the girl had been sent hate mail, was hit in the face with a chair leg, was repeatedly called names and excluded, and was constantly subjected to minor assaults including kicking, punching, punching, elbowing and pushing,

The victim’s parents complained to the Government last year that the incidents of bullying had not been properly recorded and had been dismissed out of hand by the school.

The DoE found that the school had breached its anti-bullying policy after it stopped using incident forms for bullying incidents.

Its finding said: “The headteacher also confirms that no incident forms had been completed for 12 months. There is no evidence to support that the governing body had been consulted about the abandonment of the policy.

“No evidence has been provided to confirm that any of the incidents that this pupil reported were recorded using the Eportal or incident form methods. The department considers this to be a breach of the school’s own anti-bullying policy.”

The victim’s mother, who wanted the family to remain anonymous, told The Northern Echo: “Egglescliffe School developed a culture which tolerates low-level, widespread bullying, which is endemic throughout the school, but particularly in the lower years.

“The school has an excellent academic record – but I believe it has been achieved at a cost of leaving vulnerable children protected from bullying.”

But headteacher Angela Darnell – who received the OBE for services to education in 2010 and retires at the end of this term– claimed the only reason incidents had not been recorded properly was because the school switched from paper form recording to an electronic system.

She added: “After the complaint was made we had a no-notice Ofsted inspection and they looked at Egglescliffe very very closely. They came in and rated the school outstanding for the third time and found no evidence of bullying. Now a considerable time on I have had this letter from the DoE and given then the assurances they require.”

She would not comment on the individual case other than to say: “It was a long-running complaint between one parent and the school but it became very complicated.”

Councillor Ann McCoy, Stockton Council’s Cabinet Member for Children and Young People, said: “We take all allegations of bullying very seriously. We are satisfied that the school has addressed the issues raised in the report and will continue to work closely with them.”

Comments (25)

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7:05am Wed 2 Jul 14

Davy Crocket says...

I think that Head Teacher sounds arrogant and not sorry for what that poor child went through.
I think that Head Teacher sounds arrogant and not sorry for what that poor child went through. Davy Crocket
  • Score: 26

8:48am Wed 2 Jul 14

D. Hop says...

She gave the politicians response and avoided the detail.
She gave the politicians response and avoided the detail. D. Hop
  • Score: 23

12:16pm Wed 2 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

its a long time in a youngsters life away most of the day from family and they dont know how to address things and called a grass if they do, the need looking at a lot of schools and militant teachers
its a long time in a youngsters life away most of the day from family and they dont know how to address things and called a grass if they do, the need looking at a lot of schools and militant teachers LUSTARD
  • Score: 9

12:32pm Wed 2 Jul 14

RightfullyWrong says...

I went to that school and I have NO IDEA how that woman ended up with an OBE. She's arrogant, self-centred, and judgemental.

Bullying was rampant. Pupils were told not to 'bother' the staff by 'telling tales'

Guess the old place hasn't changed!
I went to that school and I have NO IDEA how that woman ended up with an OBE. She's arrogant, self-centred, and judgemental. Bullying was rampant. Pupils were told not to 'bother' the staff by 'telling tales' Guess the old place hasn't changed! RightfullyWrong
  • Score: 25

12:42pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Stockton7 says...

Bullying is a day to day occurrence at Egglescliffe school. My daughter was subject to bullying for some time and was off school for a long period. There is not enough done in schools today to help our children's suffering. It is a HUGE problem and is never taken seriously. This is a child's life we are talking about. It still goes on and I hear many stories not only about the children being bullied but some of the teachers also having a deeply disrespectful attitude. I am extremely reluctant in sending my second child there and will be looking at different avenues of education.
Bullying is a day to day occurrence at Egglescliffe school. My daughter was subject to bullying for some time and was off school for a long period. There is not enough done in schools today to help our children's suffering. It is a HUGE problem and is never taken seriously. This is a child's life we are talking about. It still goes on and I hear many stories not only about the children being bullied but some of the teachers also having a deeply disrespectful attitude. I am extremely reluctant in sending my second child there and will be looking at different avenues of education. Stockton7
  • Score: 15

1:00pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Mr A says...

This article makes very interesting reading and but not for the good. My wife and I have already made the first steps for our eldest to join this school.

Thank you for the comments you might just have saved us from making a huge mistake.
This article makes very interesting reading and but not for the good. My wife and I have already made the first steps for our eldest to join this school. Thank you for the comments you might just have saved us from making a huge mistake. Mr A
  • Score: 13

2:08pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Lewis_xo says...

This is pathetic, no school is going to show ofsted that they have bullying, the inspectors sit in the classroom, we where immediately told to keep quite and be on best behaviour, they will never see what happens when they're not there, head teacher should be replaced, absolute rubbish
This is pathetic, no school is going to show ofsted that they have bullying, the inspectors sit in the classroom, we where immediately told to keep quite and be on best behaviour, they will never see what happens when they're not there, head teacher should be replaced, absolute rubbish Lewis_xo
  • Score: 6

2:32pm Wed 2 Jul 14

987ABC says...

Bullying isn't as rife as this makes out. There's only isolated cases which are dealt with if teachers become aware of them. Some people will take any chance to take a swipe at a very good school.
Bullying isn't as rife as this makes out. There's only isolated cases which are dealt with if teachers become aware of them. Some people will take any chance to take a swipe at a very good school. 987ABC
  • Score: -4

4:12pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Hardhat says...

My daughter was bullied here and it was dealt with extremely quickly and efficiently by the head of house.
I know of other cases where parents were pleased with the outcome of their complaints too.
Bullying goes on in EVERY school, and any head who says it doesn't happen in theirs is lying to you.
This is an outstanding school in every aspect and I don't regret for a moment that I sent my daughter here, so if you are considering it don't let this one 'story' put you off.
My daughter was bullied here and it was dealt with extremely quickly and efficiently by the head of house. I know of other cases where parents were pleased with the outcome of their complaints too. Bullying goes on in EVERY school, and any head who says it doesn't happen in theirs is lying to you. This is an outstanding school in every aspect and I don't regret for a moment that I sent my daughter here, so if you are considering it don't let this one 'story' put you off. Hardhat
  • Score: 0

4:25pm Wed 2 Jul 14

stockton136 says...

My child left Egglescliffe school last year because of bullying. The form tutor, head of house and head were informed about what was happening, but, NOTHING was done about it.

It is devastating to see the effect bullying has on a child.

My child now attends another school nearby and loves it. Their confidence has returned and they are happy. The new school really cares about the children and achieves fantastic exam results too!
My child left Egglescliffe school last year because of bullying. The form tutor, head of house and head were informed about what was happening, but, NOTHING was done about it. It is devastating to see the effect bullying has on a child. My child now attends another school nearby and loves it. Their confidence has returned and they are happy. The new school really cares about the children and achieves fantastic exam results too! stockton136
  • Score: 12

5:01pm Wed 2 Jul 14

MesaHow says...

As someone who has been in Egglescliffe since 2008, I can say that this is fairly sensationalised. It's obvious that every school has bullying. Any incidents that I've heard of have been isolated, and dealt with quickly. I'm one of the people generally considered a "nerd", and I was never bullied. The "popular" kids occasionally made fun of me, but there was an overall air of respect that everyone had for each other.

Bullying is much more rife at other schools. I've spoken to people who've received much worse physical and verbal bullying in other schools. I have never heard of anyone being bullied to such a degree here. While I'm sorry for the girl involved, Angela Darnell is a credible, determined woman who takes her job very very seriously. So the notion that bullying is rife at Egglescliffe is complete nonsense, and anyone who says otherwise is experiencing an unfortunate slip through the cracks. It can happen. And I'm sorry to anyone that it has happened to, because 99% of the time, Egglescliffe is an extremely friendly environment.
As someone who has been in Egglescliffe since 2008, I can say that this is fairly sensationalised. It's obvious that every school has bullying. Any incidents that I've heard of have been isolated, and dealt with quickly. I'm one of the people generally considered a "nerd", and I was never bullied. The "popular" kids occasionally made fun of me, but there was an overall air of respect that everyone had for each other. Bullying is much more rife at other schools. I've spoken to people who've received much worse physical and verbal bullying in other schools. I have never heard of anyone being bullied to such a degree here. While I'm sorry for the girl involved, Angela Darnell is a credible, determined woman who takes her job very very seriously. So the notion that bullying is rife at Egglescliffe is complete nonsense, and anyone who says otherwise is experiencing an unfortunate slip through the cracks. It can happen. And I'm sorry to anyone that it has happened to, because 99% of the time, Egglescliffe is an extremely friendly environment. MesaHow
  • Score: 3

6:03pm Wed 2 Jul 14

christineelliott says...

My daughter experienced bullying at Egglescliffe School which was not dealt with satisfactorily, and resulted in my child leaving school and being home educated. Five years on, the emotional scars are as prominent as ever. I am delighted that this issue has at last been brought out in the open.
The headteacher needs to take full responsibility for her inaction.
My daughter experienced bullying at Egglescliffe School which was not dealt with satisfactorily, and resulted in my child leaving school and being home educated. Five years on, the emotional scars are as prominent as ever. I am delighted that this issue has at last been brought out in the open. The headteacher needs to take full responsibility for her inaction. christineelliott
  • Score: 4

6:05pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Mr A says...

To MesaHow

"And I'm sorry to anyone that it has happened to, because 99% of the time, Egglescliffe is an extremely friendly environment"

And if you're in the 1% ???? As you have said you have NOT experienced bullying does that mean parents should take a risk with their children ??
To MesaHow "And I'm sorry to anyone that it has happened to, because 99% of the time, Egglescliffe is an extremely friendly environment" And if you're in the 1% ???? As you have said you have NOT experienced bullying does that mean parents should take a risk with their children ?? Mr A
  • Score: 2

6:20pm Wed 2 Jul 14

croptyu says...

So my school does nothing about bullying yet we get punished if we try to do deal with it ourselves????
So my school does nothing about bullying yet we get punished if we try to do deal with it ourselves???? croptyu
  • Score: 1

7:19pm Wed 2 Jul 14

Magic Steve says...

Think its time for education department to start giving warnings out to the Heads of this school to show that Bullying will not be tollerated or ignored.
Think its time for education department to start giving warnings out to the Heads of this school to show that Bullying will not be tollerated or ignored. Magic Steve
  • Score: 1

12:25pm Thu 3 Jul 14

kawaiimeoww says...

I went to Egglescliffe Secondary and the Sixth Form and I would have to say every teacher was a different story.

Some teachers were fantastic - had a great method of teaching, engaged us, treat us well and really wanted us to do well. Some were there for the ride, sort of cared and got on with it. Then there were the ones who had their own agenda - I remember Y7 Science just copying out of a textbook every lesson except once a week we got to watch the teacher do an experiment - very tedious and boring.

I experience bullying in Y9 I however did not feel comfortable enough to deal with it myself and approach a teacher even though it was obvious it was occurring in the classroom - my mother arranged for me to ensure I wasn't with these people for Y10 and 11 and the teacher was happy to ensure this so I can't have complaints here.

Bullying does occur in every school and it most certainly does here. I believe the issue is no one wants to be a 'grass', some of us don't have to confidence to tell a teacher.

There are truly some wonderful teachers at Egglescliffe. I adored IT there and miss it sometimes now! However there are some, the Head Teacher amongst them, who really seem they don't give a toss unless you are lucky enough to be one of the chosen pupils who they know your name.

Had some good times at Egglescliffe but slightly unsure for my younger brother who is going up this September. Will be listening out for what happens to him as he is on the autistic spectrum and has suffered from bullying in his Primary School - I do not want the same to happen here...
I went to Egglescliffe Secondary and the Sixth Form and I would have to say every teacher was a different story. Some teachers were fantastic - had a great method of teaching, engaged us, treat us well and really wanted us to do well. Some were there for the ride, sort of cared and got on with it. Then there were the ones who had their own agenda - I remember Y7 Science just copying out of a textbook every lesson except once a week we got to watch the teacher do an experiment - very tedious and boring. I experience bullying in Y9 I however did not feel comfortable enough to deal with it myself and approach a teacher even though it was obvious it was occurring in the classroom - my mother arranged for me to ensure I wasn't with these people for Y10 and 11 and the teacher was happy to ensure this so I can't have complaints here. Bullying does occur in every school and it most certainly does here. I believe the issue is no one wants to be a 'grass', some of us don't have to confidence to tell a teacher. There are truly some wonderful teachers at Egglescliffe. I adored IT there and miss it sometimes now! However there are some, the Head Teacher amongst them, who really seem they don't give a toss unless you are lucky enough to be one of the chosen pupils who they know your name. Had some good times at Egglescliffe but slightly unsure for my younger brother who is going up this September. Will be listening out for what happens to him as he is on the autistic spectrum and has suffered from bullying in his Primary School - I do not want the same to happen here... kawaiimeoww
  • Score: 6

3:40pm Thu 3 Jul 14

settheworldonfire says...

This school needs to address this problem a.s.a.p......Bullyin
g is usually done by groups of cowards who could not do this alone.....Exclude the bullies and the problem is sorted.....
This school needs to address this problem a.s.a.p......Bullyin g is usually done by groups of cowards who could not do this alone.....Exclude the bullies and the problem is sorted..... settheworldonfire
  • Score: 4

8:31pm Thu 3 Jul 14

AspieGirl says...

987ABC - There are 3 reasons to think you're wrong when you say "Bullying isn't as rife as this makes out. There's only isolated cases " First, the Education Department doesn't intervene in a school lightly. By law, they're only allowed to uphold a complaint if they're certain the school is “acting in a way that no reasonable governing body would have acted, or proposed to act.” So, only for really serious stuff.
2nd - just look at how many ordinary people - pupils & parents - are saying bullying happened to them & it's widespread there. Do you think they're ALL lying?
3rd, how could you know it's only isolated cases? (unless you're one of the governors - but then the DfE says you're unreasonable) You may only know about isolated cases - but that just means the school's very good at covering the rest up. Or getting rid of the victims, like this poor child.
987ABC - There are 3 reasons to think you're wrong when you say "Bullying isn't as rife as this makes out. There's only isolated cases " First, the Education Department doesn't intervene in a school lightly. By law, they're only allowed to uphold a complaint if they're certain the school is “acting in a way that no reasonable governing body would have acted, or proposed to act.” So, only for really serious stuff. 2nd - just look at how many ordinary people - pupils & parents - are saying bullying happened to them & it's widespread there. Do you think they're ALL lying? 3rd, how could you know it's only isolated cases? (unless you're one of the governors - but then the DfE says you're unreasonable) You may only know about isolated cases - but that just means the school's very good at covering the rest up. Or getting rid of the victims, like this poor child. AspieGirl
  • Score: 0

9:48am Fri 4 Jul 14

987ABC says...

Aspiegirl- Bullying occurs in every school and if you read the article it states that the problem was with the recording of the incidents and not the number of incidents. Also, such incidents require co-operation between staff, pupils and teachers, which doesn't always happen, to be dealt with efficiently. Understandably parents can lose patience with staff before the incident is resolved because both sides of the story must be heard. The school doesn't 'get rid of the victims', it's the parents who lose patience too quickly and then blame the staff, who are trying to help, who take their children out of the school.
Aspiegirl- Bullying occurs in every school and if you read the article it states that the problem was with the recording of the incidents and not the number of incidents. Also, such incidents require co-operation between staff, pupils and teachers, which doesn't always happen, to be dealt with efficiently. Understandably parents can lose patience with staff before the incident is resolved because both sides of the story must be heard. The school doesn't 'get rid of the victims', it's the parents who lose patience too quickly and then blame the staff, who are trying to help, who take their children out of the school. 987ABC
  • Score: -2

2:56pm Fri 4 Jul 14

D. Hop says...

I get the distinct impression, several of these posts are from school staff.
That said, its fair to say parents may not be as patient as school staff would like, but how long does it take to push a bullied child to commit suicide? Its young peoples lives we're talking about here and teenage years can be very difficult regardless of bullying, it should rank very high on their priority list. I'm with the parents here.
I get the distinct impression, several of these posts are from school staff. That said, its fair to say parents may not be as patient as school staff would like, but how long does it take to push a bullied child to commit suicide? Its young peoples lives we're talking about here and teenage years can be very difficult regardless of bullying, it should rank very high on their priority list. I'm with the parents here. D. Hop
  • Score: 5

2:05pm Sat 5 Jul 14

lil_chappy says...

I went to Egglescliffe til Year 10 when I moved to a special unit for children with anxiety issues and such. I never wanted to go to school cause of all the bullying I had in the past years (year 8 and 9). I hated that school and always had problems with the teachers not believing me when I said I was being bullied. No matter how many times I was told that I could come to them if I had any problems, they would just brush me off and tell me to stop being stupid. I'm really glad that I have left that school and moved onto college. Though I do find it hard to trust people now after what happened.
I went to Egglescliffe til Year 10 when I moved to a special unit for children with anxiety issues and such. I never wanted to go to school cause of all the bullying I had in the past years (year 8 and 9). I hated that school and always had problems with the teachers not believing me when I said I was being bullied. No matter how many times I was told that I could come to them if I had any problems, they would just brush me off and tell me to stop being stupid. I'm really glad that I have left that school and moved onto college. Though I do find it hard to trust people now after what happened. lil_chappy
  • Score: 4

6:13pm Sun 6 Jul 14

Marshall Jim Duncan says...

Presumably not reporting incidents to make the school look good on paper. at the expense of pupils' welfare, safety & human rights. Disgraceful.

If the head's obtaining an OBE was in any way helped by deception. It should be rescinded.
Presumably not reporting incidents to make the school look good on paper. at the expense of pupils' welfare, safety & human rights. Disgraceful. If the head's obtaining an OBE was in any way helped by deception. It should be rescinded. Marshall Jim Duncan
  • Score: 1

3:57pm Tue 8 Jul 14

LUSTARD says...

Marshall Jim Duncan wrote:
Presumably not reporting incidents to make the school look good on paper. at the expense of pupils' welfare, safety & human rights. Disgraceful.

If the head's obtaining an OBE was in any way helped by deception. It should be rescinded.
they dole obes etc for anything these days
[quote][p][bold]Marshall Jim Duncan[/bold] wrote: Presumably not reporting incidents to make the school look good on paper. at the expense of pupils' welfare, safety & human rights. Disgraceful. If the head's obtaining an OBE was in any way helped by deception. It should be rescinded.[/p][/quote]they dole obes etc for anything these days LUSTARD
  • Score: 0

12:36am Wed 9 Jul 14

Spy Boy says...

Honestly! These days there so many stories about organisations not following the rule books, for all sorts of reasons. They seem quite prepared to sweep things under the carpet to ensure they pass audits. Does the staff understand that they are there to educate the pupils and see fair play. The head seems to be making excuses, mainly because she was too busy with Offstead. Oh dear. I'm having an audit. I hope they don't find all the stuff we've hidden. What a cr#p way of dealing with audits.

I loved to talk to my auditors. It is surprising what a good, honest, two way dialogue can bring about. They always seem to state that they have procedures in place. Maybe so, but they need to show examples of how the procedure has been used and the follow up to the issues. I would have thought that the auditor would pick up on this one. The way some schools talk about Offstead, you'd think it was the Spanish Inquisition. All this avoiding, or ignoring issues is causing their pupils pain and grief. Maybe they need a real audit. This is bad news, especially with all the linked issues in the media right now.
Honestly! These days there so many stories about organisations not following the rule books, for all sorts of reasons. They seem quite prepared to sweep things under the carpet to ensure they pass audits. Does the staff understand that they are there to educate the pupils and see fair play. The head seems to be making excuses, mainly because she was too busy with Offstead. Oh dear. I'm having an audit. I hope they don't find all the stuff we've hidden. What a cr#p way of dealing with audits. I loved to talk to my auditors. It is surprising what a good, honest, two way dialogue can bring about. They always seem to state that they have procedures in place. Maybe so, but they need to show examples of how the procedure has been used and the follow up to the issues. I would have thought that the auditor would pick up on this one. The way some schools talk about Offstead, you'd think it was the Spanish Inquisition. All this avoiding, or ignoring issues is causing their pupils pain and grief. Maybe they need a real audit. This is bad news, especially with all the linked issues in the media right now. Spy Boy
  • Score: 1

7:53am Sat 12 Jul 14

KrishnaZane says...

Stop Bullying and be a friend not Bully.. Just wanna share, especially to all the parents out there to have their children subscribe to Safekidzone..This is a safety service that has a panic button that the subscriber will press in times of emergency!!, and it identifies the accurate incident location through GPS coordinates that will be sent to their system.. So that it will be easy for the 911 respondents to respond in the incident in the lesser time.. For further knowledge about this wonderful life saver app.. Here's a link: http://safekidzone.c
om/?a_aid=5328991a0b
72c
Stop Bullying and be a friend not Bully.. Just wanna share, especially to all the parents out there to have their children subscribe to Safekidzone..This is a safety service that has a panic button that the subscriber will press in times of emergency!!, and it identifies the accurate incident location through GPS coordinates that will be sent to their system.. So that it will be easy for the 911 respondents to respond in the incident in the lesser time.. For further knowledge about this wonderful life saver app.. Here's a link: http://safekidzone.c om/?a_aid=5328991a0b 72c KrishnaZane
  • Score: 0

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