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Ofsted chief inspector announces review of inspections of three Norfolk academies

PUBLISHED: 17:34 19 August 2014 | UPDATED: 17:34 19 August 2014

Chief Inspector of Schools in England and Head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

Chief Inspector of Schools in England and Head of Ofsted Sir Michael Wilshaw. Photo: Joe Giddens/PA Wire

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The chief inspector of schools in England has announced a review of three Norfolk school inspections following allegations they received advance notice of inspection dates.

Dame Rachel de Souza with education minister Lord Nash. Picture: Denise BradleyDame Rachel de Souza with education minister Lord Nash. Picture: Denise Bradley

Sir Michael Wilshaw said the review will also examine “the wider handling of the sharing of information about our inspection schedules”.

A teacher who worked at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey when it was inspected in May 2013 told this paper that senior staff knew the exact inspection dates the previous week.

A national newspaper also printed similar allegations about Thetford Academy and Great Yarmouth Primary School, both of which are part of the Norfolk-based Inspiration Trust.

Dame Rachel de Souza is chief executive of the trust, and was executive principal of Victory Academy at the time of its inspection.

In a statement, Sir Michael said: “Ofsted’s reputation for inspecting without fear or favour is absolutely central to all that we do. I am determined to protect our integrity in this area.

“In light of the serious nature of the concerns raised, I have asked Sir Robin Bosher, Ofsted’s Director, Quality and Training, to carry out a review of the circumstances of these specific inspections and the wider handling of the sharing of information about our inspection schedules.

“If any evidence comes to light that proves anyone within Ofsted or our contractors has shared information inappropriately, I will have no hesitation in taking the strongest possible action.”

The terms of reference for Sir Robin’s review will be to consider:

• Whether or not any advance notice was given of the dates of inspection in these three cases

• Whether the processes in place to protect our inspection schedule information are sufficiently robust and are being followed at all times

• Any lessons that can be learned to ensure that as Ofsted seeks to engage more current practitioners in the inspection process the integrity of inspection scheduling information is protected.

Ormiston Academies Trust has denied any of its schools receive prior notification not allowed under Ofsted rules. Ofsted previously said none of the schools receive early warning; the Inspiration Trust has said in a statement “it is false to suggest otherwise”.

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