Headteacher claims there’s no ‘endemic of homophobia’ in his school after damning Ofsted report. His pupils say otherwise
Former students of Yorkshire’s Lady Lumley’s School have spoken out about a “systemic homophobia and bullying culture” as the headteacher tries to suppress a damning Ofsted report.
The school in Pickering used more than £100,000 of public funds to challenge a report that uncovered “endemic” homophobia and racism in pupils. The inspection found this was “widespread”, “considered normal” and routinely went unchallenged by staff.
The school’s headteacher Richard Bramley insists he had no choice but to pursue legal action as Ofsted’s findings are “simply not true”. He strongly defended his decision in a letter to parents, asking them: “When you read the report, did it sound like the school your son or daughter goes to?”
Former pupils say it sounds exactly like the school they went to.
In a series of personal testimonies seen by the Yorkshire Post, members of the group Conscious Raising Ryedale described “intensive, day-to-day bullying” at Lady Lumley’s School.
In a particularly harrowing account, one former pupil recalled how students wrote homophobic abuse across his school book, threw things at him while he ate lunch, called him demeaning names and pushed him down the stairs.
Another remembered how teachers had “joined in with laughter,” leaving “a lasting sense of insecurity over who I am, low self-esteem, and a variety of mental health issues”.
Teachers are accused of “turning a blind eye” to the bullying, meaning that “a culture of casual racism and homophobia has prevailed”.
A member of the group wrote: “The fact that the head said this is not a reflection of the wider community is simply not true. The children who bullied myself and my peers are their parent’s children. Sexism, homophobia and racism is rife in Ryedale.”
The group has included their testimonies in an open letter to the school which calls for staff and teachers to implement an adequate reporting system and a more robust monitoring process.
They also urge the school to publish its findings, establish regular school-wide events and introduce a code of ethical behaviour.
The Ofsted report’s “inadequate” rating means the school will now convert into an academy school and be taken over by an academy chain.
North Yorkshire County Council has introduced an interim board to govern Lady Lumley’s. It said it had “zero tolerance of bullying or prejudiced behaviour of any kind” and would be working closely with the school as it moves into academisation.