A former pupil of Christ the King College in Newport has spoken out about bullying, racism and fighting at the council-run institution.
In an Ofsted report published on Thursday (October 4), Christ the King College’s overall rating fell from “good” to “inadequate”.
Councillor Chris Whitehouse (Newport West) believed the rating was due to “unbelievably bad” timing and called the results “unfortunate” as the schools leadership was restructuring when Ofsted visited.
Of particular concern in the report was the extent of bullying in the school, some of which was described as “casual racism”.
The IW Observer spoke to Emily*, who left recently but attended Christ the King up to year 11 about her experiences at the school:
Is bullying a problem at Christ the King?
“I experienced some personally, and I know of some things that happened to my friends, which included physical, cyber, and emotional bullying.
“Girls would make unkind comments about other girls’ physical appearance and those bullied would sit alone at break-time. I saw about half-a-dozen physical fights, between both boys and girls. I saw girls pulling each other’s hair, slapping and kicking each other, and their friends cheering them on.
“When this happened with the girls, it only got broken up by a cleaner, not a member of staff. I got bullied myself. Some other students would take my lunch and throw it somewhere.”
Have you seen any racist bullying?
“Nearly all the students are white. There were racist comments about a black teacher who was nicknamed ‘Malteser’.
“I experienced some racist comments myself, but would rather not comment about this as I would not like to be identified.”
Did you ever report bullying and what happened when you did?
“Yes. Twice. When I reported it, it got even worse. I wanted to avoid going to my form room, but I wasn’t allowed to.”
How was behaviour in class?
“Some teachers were good and kept strong discipline, but others were poor and couldn’t control the classes. It was particularly bad in science lessons and in classes that were mainly boys.
“One of the boys would sing in the lessons, others would watch Youtube videos. There was a total lack of respect. This was just before our GCSE examinations.”
Did bullying affect examination results?
“One thing I noticed after the GCSE examinations was that the bullied children tended to get the best examination results, whereas the bullies did badly.”
Is there anything good you would like to say about Christ the King?
“Yes. There are some very good teachers at the school.”
*Emily’s name has been changed to protect her identity.
Councillor Paul Brading (Lake South), cabinet member for education said: “From what I’ve read there does appear to have been in the past, a culture of bullying, but I would not necessarily say it’s worse than other schools. To me the important issue is the way any bullying is dealt with by the school. All staff should never walk past bullying they should deal with it immediately, and they should have a policy as a school as to how they deal with it – especially the racism side of things.
“I am reassured that such a policy is now in place with the new leadership at Christ the King. Many of the issues raised in the report have already addressed in the period between the visit and the report being published.
“I hope this reassures parents that issues at being addressed quickly, to ensure students at Christ the King school continue to receive a high level of education, in a safe environment.”