Parents kept UCL Academy pupils at home over bullying fears

Teenagers said they didn't feel safe

Thursday, 28th July — By Harry Taylor

UCL Academy

UCL Academy

TWO parents have been keeping their children away from lessons after accusing a secondary school of not doing enough to stop bullying.

The two mothers at UCL Academy in Swiss Cottage say their boys have been targeted by a group of teenagers over the past 18 months.

They say it meant they were forced to buy food and drink for them using their own pre-paid canteen cards, and were attacked outside the school in March, when police were called.

All three of them, plus a friend, were allegedly locked in a classroom by a teacher to keep them safe during the school day amid fears of further attacks.

They have been off school since June 7 and have not been sent work to study at home, as the school has told them it does not want to encourage pupils to stay at home.


One of the mothers said: “My kids are scared to go to school at the moment. They want to be in school, they want to be learning, we want them to be learning – we’re only parents doing our best.

“But we can’t send them in when we’re worried for their safety and so are they. It feels like the school isn’t taking this seriously.

“We understand that there will be bullying in these institutions, we understand there are going to be issues. It’s the lack of care, it’s the action UCL are taking.

“It seems they are all dressed up in the fanciness of the school and the curriculum that is offered. It is one of the best put together schools in Camden, but it is doing nothing for a lot of the children who are attending.”

It also comes weeks after UCL Academy’s Ofsted rating was downgraded to “requires improvement” after inspectors saw evidence of bad and boisterous behaviour, which the school said was low-level disruption that included looking out of a window during a lesson.

Its report published in June said that behaviour policies were not “consistently followed by staff and leaders”.

None of the boys have been excluded from the Adelaide Road school, the New Journal understands.

There were “safety plans” put in place to stop two groups of teenagers from coming into contact with each other, but parents complain that this has been ineffective.

A UCL Academy spokesperson said: “We take all allegations of harassment and bullying extremely seriously and have a robust process in place through which we investigate incidents thoroughly and ensure that all appropriate steps are in place to support the safety and well-being of all our students.

“In all cases we encourage and welcome parents to work in collaboration with us to overcome concerns and any challenges that the students are facing.

“We always have and continue to be focused on the wellbeing and safety of all students across the academy.

“The work we are doing in the areas of safeguarding, personal development and PSHE are at the core of how we support students and the strength of the programmes we offer in PSHE have been recognised through regular external reviews.”

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