A GRAMMAR school embroiled in controversy after an Ofsted report found its pupils felt “unsafe” looks set to be taken on by an academy trust.

Colchester Royal Grammar School (CRGS), which faced a turbulent year after receiving an ‘inadequate’ rating in July 2021, hopes to join Thinking Schools Academy Trust.

The school will join the trust, which is made up of 21 schools including three grammar schools, subject to Department for Education approval.

In a letter to parents, CRGS chair of trustees Janet Perry said: “We expect to hear this news early next month.

“If we get that approval, we intend to conduct an online engagement process so we can hear all interested parties’ views.”

The move will mark the first time the school has joined a multi-academy trust in its near 900-year history.

School bosses hope joining the trust will “secure the future” of CRGS following a tumultuous period, resulting in Ofsted’s inspection in 2021.

The school was threatened with having its funding agreement withdrawn when the watchdog found its pupils felt “unsafe” after being subject to sexist or racist comments.

READ MORE: Colchester Royal Grammar School spent £57,000 on legal fees

The school received a termination warning notice after inspectors concluded leaders failed to address a “pervading culture in the school which does not promote equality and respect”.

The Ofsted report found school bosses had not ensured boys understand “how to interact appropriately” with girls.

The report said certain parts of the school “have become a hostile environment for some pupils”.

It said: “A significant number of pupils feel uncomfortable or unsafe in school and report being the subject of insulting and damaging comments regarding their gender, appearance, race or sexual orientation.

“Pupils are too often reluctant to pass their concerns on to staff.

“Consequently, leaders are largely unaware of the difficulties some pupils face.”

Inspectors revisited the school in February last year, finding leaders had since made “rapid improvements”.

READ MORE: Colchester Royal Grammar School celebrates 'progress'

A letter to headteacher John Russell said: “Serious weaknesses in the school’s safeguarding arrangements identified at the time of the previous inspection are being dealt with systematically.

“Safeguarding arrangements are much more effective than they were previously.

“A stronger culture of safeguarding is evident throughout the school.”

Ms Perry told parents: “Joining a multi-academy trust is a very important decision for our school, and we want to be clear that this matter has been given a huge amount of care and attention.

“Thinking Schools was founded by Rochester Grammar School.

“All schools within the trust work together to transform the life chances of the young people in their care, and the trust is extremely proud of how it works across the educational landscape with children of all ages and in all types of schools.”

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