A CRISIS-hit school has promised a culture change after 36 members of staff reported being bullied or harassed by someone in authority.

The results came from 114 replies to a questionnaire measuring stress at Richmond School.

They have now prompted board members and senior managers to pledge a new "collaborative, transparent and constructive" culture at the school.

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The first of a series of talks have taken place with union representatives to discuss changes.

The results have also been sent to all staff.

The survey was commissioned earlier this year by headteacher Ian Robertson when the school became the first to pilot North Yorkshire County Council's revised stress audit.

Results showed that the majority of staff were clear about their duties and the aims of their departments, as well as believing they worked with supportive colleagues.

However, 90 staff felt they were not consulted on changes at the school, while 74 thought they had insufficient opportunities to question managers about changes.

As well as almost a third of respondents reporting bullying and harassment, 59 said they were experiencing excess strain.

The school has around 200 staff members.

A new interim executive board (IEB) was formed in March after the previous governing body resigned when it was issued with a warning notice from the county council.

Documents have since revealed that the former governors believed the headmaster was acting without authority - and resigned when the local authority failed to back their efforts to bring him in line.

Colonel Stephen Padgett, chair of the IEB, said the survey revealed causes for "justifiable optimism" as well as "justifiable concern".

He added: “They will be the subject of continued discussion between all stakeholders over coming days and weeks, so that working collaboratively and collectively, steps can be taken to make changes that will allay concerns and improve those areas where it is clear there is room to do so."

Col Padgett said Richmond School remained an excellent school however the aim was to instil a new collaborative, transparent and constructive culture.

He added: "Our actions in releasing the warning notice, releasing the information about the survey, in meeting with councillors, meeting with union and professional representatives, and holding discussions with staff, parents and pupils are all about seeking to re-establish trust and confidence so we can move forward constructively as a team for the benefit, in particular, of pupils and parents."

Officials say the school has been through a period of transformation recently with a major £32 million building project and an overhaul of teaching and learning.

Mr Robertson said the survey had been a very good idea to address stress concerns.

He added: “Now the IEB is in place we have been able to meet with unions and professional associations to discuss the results.

"We have had a very positive meeting. We are all committed to working together to address the issues arising from the survey and move forward."

Paul Busby, NUT North Yorkshire secretary, said assurance regarding the need for honesty, transparency and good communication was agreed at the meeting with school leaders.

“Particular areas of concern were identified from the stress audit data and we will be consulting with our members in an attempt to assist the IEB in their commitment to address these issues,” he added.