A once ‘outstanding’ faith school in Manchester is out of special measures nearly two years after Ofsted inspectors deemed it ‘inadequate’. But the schools watchdog says King David High School still requires improvement.

The Jewish state school in Crumpsall, which has previously been one of the top performing schools in the country, was placed in special measures after it was accused of ‘unlawfully discriminating’ against pupils on the grounds of sex. Joshua Rowe, who was then the school’s chair of governors, wrote to parents at the time, describing these findings as ‘preposterous’ and ‘absurd’.

It comes after Ofsted accused the school of ‘unlawful segregation’ of pupils ‘on the grounds of faith and belief and sex’ following an inspection in 2019. The school was rated ‘inadequate’ at the time, but the report was eventually quashed after the school’s inspection body was threatened with legal action.

Mr Rowe stepped down as chair of governors last year, but remains involved in the school. Last November, Ofsted wrote to the new executive headteacher, John Dalziel, about a ‘lack of urgency’ in improving governance at the school.

The letter said that some governors did not understand their roles and responsibilities, but recognised some improvements, noting that governors were now ‘far less likely to get involved in the school’s operational matters’.

The latest report based on a full inspection of the school in June praises the work of governors who are now ‘making a much stronger contribution to the school’s continued progress’. The report, published on Tuesday (July 18), also praises the school for creating a ‘calm’ and ‘orderly’ environment for learning.

The report said: “Pupils’ mutual respect, and their willingness to help each other out, underpins the strong feeling of community at The King David High School. Pupils are taught to be optimistic about their futures. They learn how to find solutions to the challenges that they may encounter.

“Pupils, and students in the sixth form, benefit from a rich, broad curriculum that sets them up well to accomplish their future goals. Pupils enjoy their learning. Most pupils live up to their teachers’ high expectations of achievement and attain strong academic outcomes. Students in the sixth form achieve impressive A-level results.”

Serious incidents of misbehaviour are rare, according to the report. But some pupils’ behaviour goes unchallenged, while others are late to lessons, it adds.

Overall, Ofsted rated the school as ‘good’ in its quality of education, personal development, leadership and management and sixth-form provision. But the report says the school still ‘requires improvement’ in behaviour and attitudes.

Responding to the report, Mr Dalziel said: “We’re delighted that the school is out of special measures. A huge amount of work has gone into making the changes and we’re delighted Ofsted has recognised that.

“But it’s important to recognise that we’re not where we need to be yet. There’s still work to do.”