MP seeks answers after disturbances at academy

SHEFFIELD MP Paul Blomfield is due to meet the principal and governors of Sheffield Park Academy tomorrow following disturbances which led to the arrest of eight pupils.

Mr Blomfield, MP for Sheffield Central, said the events of last Friday afternoon were “deeply disturbing”.

He said: “I am meeting the principal and governors’ representatives this Friday and I shall be asking for a full report on the events of last week. I am extremely concerned about what has been going on there and I will be seeking answers.”

The academy has launched its own investigation into the incident which is believed to have seen a pupil taken to hospital after being punched in the face with a knuckleduster.

A police presence was being maintained this week to ensure calm on the Manor campus, which is run by the United Learning Trust.

A Trust spokesman said: “The academy is working closely with the police in support of their investigations, whilst also undertaking its own inquiry into the incident, with a view to taking immediate and direct action against those involved.

“The incident appears to stem from ongoing community-related issues, involving a small minority of individuals. The academy would like to make it clear to all concerned that it does not and will not tolerate this kind of behaviour, which will be swiftly addressed.

“I would also like to thank the vast majority of students and their parents who support the academy in this stance.”

The pupils arrested and released on police bail were all suspected of public order offences and a police spokeswoman said inquiries were ongoing.

One parent said there had been a series of violent incidents at the academy in recent weeks and there was frustration that the trouble had not been addressed.

“Some of us think the academy is in denial over all this. In the past the city council might have stepped in to help but now it’s all down to ULT to sort it,” he said.

Park Academy was formerly Waltheof School and became an academy in 2006.

It remains on Ofsted’s failing blacklist and a recent visit said a previous improving trend in behaviour had not been maintained.

Inspectors said they had observed more frequent instances of unsatisfactory behaviour, including inappropriate language – showing disrespect for fellow students and adults.

Last week’s school performance tables revealed Park Academy, in Beaumont Close, had one of the worst records for unauthorised absence in the country, although its GCSE results showed improvement.