An official report yesterday slammed a school for nurturing a ‘bullying culture’ where older boys are allowed to punish younger pupils.
Teachers at Brymore School of Technology near Bridgwater, Somerset, accepted bullying as part of the ”rough and tumble” of school life, according to inspectors.
The report highlighted a ”natural pecking order” which left Year 9 students ”genuinely frightened” of Year 11 boys.
An anonymous survey of pupils at the boys’ boarding school found that pupils feared for their own safety and did not trust teachers.
It completes a tumultuous year for the school that saw headteacher Malcolm Lloyd suspended for failure to safeguard children’s safety.
The report by Somerset County Council stated: ”Students appear to be hit by other older pupils and this is accepted as part of the ‘rough and tumble’ of school life. It is, however, not appropriate.
”There still remains a culture of bullying behaviour, sometimes being accepted and condoned by some groups of students and staff.”
Brymore trains boys for the farming and rural professions and states it has a ‘hands-on experience for learning’.
The report found instances of a morning bell being rung in boys’ ears, and others were forced to endure long runs up a hill or face a punishment.
Any concerns voiced to staff would be passed on to older pupils, who would then single out the complainant for further bullying, the report claims.
According to the survey of pupils, 37 per cent did not think all students were treated fairly and 28 per cent did not think they could trust most adults in the school.
Food given to pupils by their parents was often taken by house staff or stolen by other students.
There are several references to an incident that saw a member of staff open the results of one of the questionnaires and shout at a pupil because of what they had written.
In response to the report, the school’s chair of governors Barbara Drakeford said it was impossible to keep everyone happy.
She said: ”We accept the findings in the report but I do challenge how serious the bullying is.
”There’s always bullying in schools where you’ve got a group boys, but it’s not a school where bullying is a major problem.”
She pointed to a separate survey that spoke to pupils, staff and parents found only four per cent of students did not think the school was a ”happy and caring” place.
Parent Mark Saunders, whose son attends the school, said the problems were being taken out of context.
He said: ”Every school has its problems. There’s going to be an element of bullying wherever you go.
”I wouldn’t send my son to the school if I felt there was a problem.”
The boarding school says staff have received extra training this year and a new acting head, Mark Thomas, has been appointed.
My son is a pupil at Brymore. This is a very negative piece of journalism. Lets look at it this way: the majority of pupils feel they can trust adults at the school and feel all children are treated fairly! You cannot please all of the children all of the time! If indeed any food is removed by staff it will be done for a good reason, for example additives found within it make some children hyperactive which could compromise the Health and Safety of pupils. Many items are stolen daily in schools all over the country, anything from pencils to mobile phones. In my experience this happens less so at Brymore where boys live together in a close knit community. The Chads Hill Run is a Brymore tradition and all boys are encouraged to run it as part of keeping fit. Brymore is a rural school aimed primarily at boys who prefer outdoor pursuits to sitting in front of a television or computer. My son was bullied at his previous school because he has dyslexia and is a slow learner. He was deliberately tripped up and broke his collar bone.He was called names and became withdrawn and unhappy. At Brymore School he is accepted and valued, he is now a happy and confident young man who enjoys school. The atmosphere between the boys is very positive, the boys all support and encourage each other through a “house” system. This is very evident whenever you visit the school. My son has made many strong friendships here.
Your kid got picked on because he was stupid so you sent him to a school that would allow him to pick on children weaker than him. Great work!
I was a pupil there 15 years ago it was a pecking order sorry to say but when I was there. Bullying was everywhere year 9’s where terrified of year 11’s and mentally and physically bullied.
Resulting in the year 9’s think it’s right and when it’s there turn at being year 11’s it there time to become a bully.
so I am sorry to say again from a pupil FACT it was hell.
I hope now the bulling has been sorted.