But a new report published this month based on a visit in March has dropped the Gleadless school down to ‘inadequate’ in all but one area.
During their visit, they were told of ‘racist, sexualised and offensive remarks’ being thrown around by older pupils in the playground, and noted that some students felt adults cannot handle bullying when it’s reported.
The harshest criticisms were for the governors and leadership, who the report said have ‘an overly generous view of the school’s effectiveness’, paired with ‘often too low’ expectations for children.
As a result, Bankwood is now in special measures and has been given six months to improve.
The report reads: "Leaders do not understand the most pressing school improvement priorities. They have failed to take action to address weaknesses in the school. As a result, the school’s effectiveness has declined significantly since the last inspection.
"A number of staff have concerns about workload and the support that they receive from leaders to manage this.
“Governors do not provide the right challenge to hold leaders to account. This means that the school is not improving.”
However, inspectors reported pupils “like to come to school” and say their “teachers are fair”. Bankwood’s extra-curricular clubs were also seen as a strength.
Other weaknesses included poor attendance and a poor focus on History, RE and PSHE.
They also noted the learning of SEND pupils or those who are new the country is “not prioritised” by teachers, meaning some children cannot read.
Meanwhile, inspectors brusquely said Reception pupils “are not ready” for Year 1.
There was a failure to spot and act to stop bad behaviour, leading to incidents such as homophobic bullying.
The report reads: “Older pupils say that they often hear sexualised and offensive language, including racist remarks, at playtimes and lunchtime.
"They also report that adults are not successful in preventing bullying from happening. As a result, some pupils do not report concerns to adults. Some pupils say that bullying is a normal part of school life.”
Ofsted leaders have been ordered to redevelop their curriculum, get attendance under control and tackle behaviour issues.
The Star understands that executive headteacher Wendy Edwards will be retiring from the role, among other staffing changes.
Meanwhile, CEO of Steel City Partnership Schools and an accredited ‘National Leader of Education’ Nicola Shipman has been brought in to make changes.
In a statement, Ms Shipman said the report made “very difficult reading” and that “decisive action” had been taken since the inspection on March 2, 2022.
She said: “We have taken swift and effective action to ensure all children attending the school will have a curriculum is engaging and meets the needs of all out learners.
"We will also ensure that future leaders at Bankwood will effectively lead the school forward and quickly back to Good.”