Parents have given a big general thumbs up in a survey to indicate the strengths of the John Masefield High School in Ledbury, and where it could still try harder.

Most of the areas covered for the school’s own report card, from whether the school is a safe environment to the general happiness of students, have attracted positive ratings of over 90 per cent.

But in other areas, including the subject of bullying at the school, it is a case of ‘could do better,’ according to the survey.

Of the 296 parents who responded, 50 felt that bullying had taken place at the school, and 15 of those felt the school had not handled the problem well.

A total of 17 per cent of parents felt that John Masefield High School students were not well behaved.

The school also scored relatively badly on the subject of communication, where 38 per cent of responding parents felt they were out the loop, concerning what their children were being taught.

Headteacher, Andy Evans has responded to most points of concerns in a newsletter.

Concerning the issue of bullying at the High School, he said: “Some 82 per cent of parents said they felt their son or daughter had not been bullied. Of the 50 parents who felt bullying had taken place, 35 agreed that it had been dealt with quickly and effectively, whilst 15 disagreed.

“We are working very hard to try to prevent bullying, unkindness and students falling out with each other. However, it is important to be realistic and acknowledge that some bullying will always take place.”

Mr Evans added: “We are determined to always resolve situations that do occur. We would encourage parents to contact the Year Leader as soon as possible and to give as much detail as possible when bullying does occur.”

Concerning the apparent communication problems between school and parents, Mr Evans said: “I would agree that since lockdown we have not prioritised feeding back to parents about how well their child is doing.

"We aim to improve this over the next term, particularly by scheduling virtual Parents’ Evenings, where parents can have face to face conversations online.”

He added: “A number of parents have rightly pointed out that while the termly progress checks give clear and regular information on students’ attitudes in class and with homework, they do not give a precise summary of attainment.

“A key challenge for us as a school is to find a better way in which we can communicate to parents about students’ attainment and learning. We will be working on this over the next few months and hope to have improved mechanisms in place by the summer term.”

Another area of concern was found among parents whose children have special educational needs.

Of those parents who responded to the survey, 25 per cent indicated that the school was not giving them “the support they need to succeed.”

Mr Evans said this issue, and the suggestion that some John Masefield High School students are not well behaved, would be covered in a separate newsletter to parents, “to summarise action we are taking in these two areas”

It is Mr Evans’ intention to “publish one parental survey per term, to gain feedback”.