CITY leaders have responded to a damning report about a school.

Brighton Aldridge Community Academy (BACA has been rated “inadequate” by the government’s education watchdog Ofsted in a critical report which is due to be published this week.

The report gave the inadequate rating – the lowest of four grades.

Green councillor Sarah Nield said: “This report is really concerning to us, in particular allegations of bullying towards young people from certain groups.

“Council officers will be working with the school to support them through this period and working to ensure that all pupils are safe at school.

The Argus: Sarah Nield

“What cannot be ignored, however, is that BACA is another example to disprove the government’s drive to academisation.

“Reports in The Guardian last week showed that council-run schools are better at school improvement than those run by academy trusts.

“When council-run schools sadly receive lower Ofsted judgments, they are given an academy order despite the wishes of the community, as was shown by the fight to prevent academisation at Moulsecoomb.

“Yet academies don’t return to council control when their Ofsted rating is poor. We continue to believe that academisation does not offer the best for children and champion the value of council-run schools.”

BACA is an academy – a publicly funded state school with a sponsor – rather than a local authority maintained school. It replaced the troubled Falmer High School.

The government and BACA’s sponsor, Aldridge Education, paid millions of pounds to build new premises when responsibility for the school was handed over by Brighton and Hove City Council.

Although academies were brought when Labour was in government, local opposition to academies has become more widespread among Green and Labour councillors.

Labour councillor Jackie O’Quinn said that she wished BACA all the best in resolving its issues and getting back on track.

The Argus:

Councillor O’Quinn said: “It was very concerning to hear that BACA received a rating of inadequate in most categories in its recent Ofsted report – although the sixth form provision was deemed ‘good’ – especially as I have heard many good things about BACA from parents who send their children there.

“It appears there is much work to be done, especially in improving the behaviour of pupils and in safeguarding those pupils affected by the poor behaviour of others.

“Apparently, the inspectors took into account the impact of covid in their determinations but I would argue that it is difficult to quantify that impact, especially on disadvantaged pupils and young teenagers.”

Conservative councillor Vanessa Brown said that she hoped the new principal would help the school to improve.

She said: “I was very sad to read this Ofsted report. Until now, all our secondary schools were rated as good.

“I am particularly concerned about the criticisms around safeguarding procedures. These are serious matters that need to be resolved quickly and effectively.

“With a new executive principal in post and a new chair of governors, I very much hope we will see improvements happening very quickly.”

The report follows a two-day inspection at the school, off Lewes Road, by four inspectors in early March.