A formerly outstanding grammar school has been threatened with the loss of funding following a scathing Ofsted inspection.

Bacup and Rawtenstall Grammar School received a letter from the Department of Education stating it could lose funding following its ‘inadequate’ Ofsted inspection which highlighted safeguarding issues, especially for pupils that identified as LGBTQ+.

Regional Director for North West of the DfE, Vicky Beer, said in a letter sent on October 31 to the school, that ‘any funding agreement of an academy may be terminated by the Secretary of State where special measures are required to be taken in relation to the academy or the academy requires significant improvement’.

Ms Beer said she needed to be ‘satisfied the trust has capacity to deliver rapid and sustainable improvement at the academy’.

The letter said: “If I am not satisfied that this can be achieved, I will consider whether to terminate the funding agreement in order to transfer the academy to an alternative academy trust that has the capacity and experience to support the academy to improve in the longer term.”

The letter acknowledged action is being taken by the interim headteacher and a new leadership team, and the school was given until November 21 to provide written representations to the department, including a copy of the post-Ofsted long-term and short-term action plan and a copy of the safeguarding action plan.

A spokesperson for the school said: “School improvement does not happen overnight but we are confident that the changes we are making will deliver the progress we need.

"We are continuing to work hard every day to make sure that the students get the high-quality education that they deserve.

"We are addressing the areas for improvement as rapidly as possible, with the excellent support and guidance of Endeavour Learning Trust.”

In the inspection of the school, which was published in September, Ofsted found pupils at the school, while being ‘highly motivated to achieve well’, feel ‘worried, unhappy and unsafe’.

They added that ‘incidents of harmful sexual behaviour go unchallenged or are dismissed by leaders’.

The report reads: “Many pupils feel there is not an adult in school to whom they can talk if they need to seek help.

“Leaders often do not make referrals to the local authority when appropriate.

“Pupils and students told inspectors some teachers either ‘do not care’ about their worries or they simply ‘brush them under the carpet’.

“This is particularly the case for some pupils and students who identify as members of the LGBTQ+ community.”