PARENTS have reacted to the news that a previously outstanding school has been branded inadequate after inspectors raised serious concerns over pupil safety.

The King John School, in Thundersley, was criticised by Ofsted inspectors for not keeping the most vulnerable pupils safe or following the legal rules designed to protect them.

Basildon Standard:

Head - Melanie McGauley

The most able pupils are also being let down.

Details of exactly how the school and the Zenith Multi Academy Trust which runs it, failed to protect vulnerable children were requested by the Echo, but both refused to respond.

The school was inspected on February 26 and 27, with the leadership and management at the school rated inadequate, and the personal development, behaviour and welfare of pupils branded as requiring improvement.

Parents have responded to the report, which is due to be officially published today.

Lisa Read said: "Bullying is not ‘rare’. The school need to open their eyes on all matters.

"It’s not just about achieving above average.

"The school is far too channelled into the academic results and ignore children’s wellbeing and safety."

She added: "I am so glad my eldest has now left and excelling into his career with no help at all from this school. In fact once they knew he didn’t want to go into further education they couldn’t care less!

"My second child will not go here."

Mary Wheeler added: "It’s a great school. They just seem to be failing those with more complex social needs.

"Safeguarding is deemed inadequate as kids haven’t been educated enough on county lines, drug dealings and gangs. This will be rectified sharpish I can assure you."

The school, which has roughly 2,000 pupils, was rated as good in terms of quality of teaching, outcomes for pupils and 16 to 19 study programmes.

The school was rated as outstanding in 2013, but the latest report states the school has not maintained the “outstanding quality of education”.

The report also added that leaders have an “overinflated view of the school’s effectiveness”.

Concerns were also raised that pupils had a very limited understanding of the risks attached to county lines, drug dealing and gangs.

The report read: “Almost all pupils who spoke to inspectors had a very limited understanding of the risks attached to county lines, drug dealing and gangs.”

Whether these issues are directly connected to the safeguarding failings has not been revealed.

Ofsted inspectors acknowledged that the quality of teaching is high, and outcomes for pupils are good, particularly at the sixth form, while the curriculum was also praised.

A letter sent from the school’s head to parents, which has been seen by the Echo, stated that concerns over safeguarding are “not acceptable”, and that an external review of governance will take place, as well as a full review of school leadership and management.

Despite some positives in the report the leadership failings by senior figures at the school, and governors, were so significant the school was rated as inadequate overall.

A number of positives were highlighted, including pupils behaviour.

The report said: “Most pupils behave well and treat one another with respect.”

The full report into the school was due to be published by Ofsted today.