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Ofsted “reviewing its processes” after allegations Norfolk schools had advance notice of inspections

PUBLISHED: 08:00 19 August 2014 | UPDATED: 16:22 19 August 2014

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

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

Archant

Ofsted is “reviewing its processes” following allegations that three Norfolk schools were tipped off about inspections before they happened.

It follows claims from a teacher who worked at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey at the time of its May 2013 inspection, when Dame Rachel de Souza was executive principal, that senior staff knew the exact dates the week before.

A national newspaper claimed Thetford Academy and Great Yarmouth Primary Academy also received tip-offs ahead of inspections this year. Both are part of the Norfolk-based Inspiration Trust, which Dame Rachel now leads.

Ofsted has denied the schools received advance notice and the Inspiration Trust said in a statement “it is false to suggest otherwise”.

Ormiston Academies Trust said it had never been given more than the standard half-a-day notice all schools get. Dame Rachel was unavailable for comment.

Ofsted said last night no-one had come forward with evidence, and the review of its processes was not a formal investigation.

Separately, Norfolk County Council will write to Ofsted and the Inspiration Trust about claims Thetford Academy was tipped off.

A spokesman for Norfolk County Council said: “We are aware of what has been reported and we want to be sure that all of our children receive the high standard of education to which they are entitled.

“Ofsted inspection plays an important part in reassuring families and young people about the education provided by individual schools. The impartiality of the inspection process is vital in maintaining public confidence in Ofsted’s work.”

Ofsted said: “In order to manage the complex scheduling of inspection a number of teams at Ofsted have access to our scheduling information. Ofsted inspects without fear or favour and guards this integrity closely.

“All of these staff sign the Official Secrets Act and understand the importance of the integrity of the information they access. All staff and contractors also complete a conflict of interest pro forma.”

Do you have an education story? Email martin.george@archant.co.uk

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