Following a damning 2019 Oftsed inspection, Charlotte Whelan was hired as headteacher at Hackney New School in East London. Ms Whelan told the BBC the school has been “completely transformed” with the introduction of poetry recitals and chess clubs.
Ms Whelan said the students have “responded well” to the introduction of poetry recitals instead of sports games.
She said: “The school has been completely transformed and the students are really thriving.
“It’s long been my belief that we could be doing more for pupils while they on their breaks, so often you see them aimlessly wandering the playground.
“We want every second at school to count.
“We began by introducing the poetry recitals during break and lunch and the students really responded well.
“It evolved from there.”
While pupils aged 11 to 16 are still allowed to exercise during breaks and PE lessons, teachers are now working with a more structured approach.
As well as poetry recitals, chess and choir clubs have been set up to give pupils more choice what they want to do during their break times.
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“Examples include racist bullying and name-calling.
“The school’s behaviour logs record many incidents of racist, homophobic, sexist or other discriminatory behaviour.
“This is completely unacceptable.”
Inspectors also found “extremist, sexualised and homophobic graffiti” within the school grounds.
According to the MailOnline, footage shared on social media back in 2019 appeared to show teachers drinking and dancing in a school changing room after sending students home for half term.
A former pupil who shared the footage said at the time: “I remember seeing a teacher carrying wine in a Tesco bag into the school, and the next day this video was released.”
Over the last year, due to the coronavirus pandemic, there have only been five reports of bullying including cyberbullying.
Linda James, founder of Bullies Out, told MailOnline: “We were really pleased to hear of Hackney New School’s plan to reduce bullying.
“Schools which put in place effective strategies such as this can really make a difference to the whole ethos of their school environment.
“Bullying behaviour thrives on unsupervised break and lunchtimes so introducing safe spaces for children with supervised activities can help them feel included and supported whilst eliminating the bullying behaviour that can take place.”