Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

GCSE results 'better than expected' at troubled Belfast school

Published 26/08/2016

Parents said they felt vindicated over raising concerns
Parents said they felt vindicated over raising concerns

GCSE results at a school in west Belfast plagued by leadership problems and bullying were not as bad as expected, a parent said.

An independent report into De La Salle College in Belfast has revealed allegations of a "culture of fear" among staff.

Kieran McCormick, whose son attends the school, said parents had feared for the worst ahead of results day.

"What has happened has impacted on the children's education and futures but not to the extent that we were anticipating. We were anticipating a disaster, we think we have avoided that."

Claims of bullying and intimidating behaviour were compounded by a teacher survey reporting low morale and lack of trust across the school following leadership difficulties.

A three-person panel led by educationalist Sir Robert Salisbury said it was unacceptable that broken relationships were allowed to affect pupils.

Mr McCormick added: "For parents the difficulty that we have found hard to grasp is that these are people charged with the responsibility to ensure the welfare and safeguarding and best possible education for our children."

He added: "We are glad that we have been vindicated.

"We knew as parents that there was something not right about that school, there were too many issues arising individually and collectively around our children's education and the report has laid that out there."

The panel said it was disturbed that so many submissions to it had raised the issues of bullying and intimidating behaviour within the school.

A staff wellbeing survey confirmed the poor state of working relationships with very low morale and a lack of trust across the school, the review said.

Critical internal reports, temporary appointments in key leadership roles and limited support for principals and vice-principals contributed to problems like staff absences.

It made 40 recommendations centred on providing stable leadership and protecting children's interests.

Read More

From Belfast Telegraph