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Ofsted chief inspector announces review of inspections of three Norfolk academies

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.

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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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8 comments

  • Will be an interesting review bearing in mind this goes quite high up the chain and involves Tory politicians and benefactors. Lots of people involved in this story with lots to lose. I'm not certain whether the real truth will ever be uncovered.

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    OldSchool

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Should add Notre Dame High School to that list.

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    21

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • So if everything is hunky dory why does Ofsted need to review its procedures? Do they really expect us to believe that there was no talk about inspection when Sean Harford, Ofsted Chief for the East, R DeSouza and E Truss all went to Shanghai just before one of these inspections. The whole thing stinks but will doubtless be covered up.

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    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Smoke without fire? Watch this space.

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    TheTruth

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Good news - he'll be determined to make sure Ofsted come out of this positively even 'if' they have a rogue employee who has brought disrepute on the organisation. However, assuming this has happened surely there should also be an equally rigorous examination of what someone working for the trust may have done in effectively 'handling stolen goods' so to speak. Funny that no one in government has made an official statement about this - surely (he says cynically) this isn't related to politics.....is it? Time for someone to fall on their sword?

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    One Horse Town

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Ofsted investigates allegations about Ofsted's inspections of acadamies, well we all know the result of that review, don't we...

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    Andrew Shields

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Ms De Souza should be resign if there is malpractice found.

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    Jeffrey Osborne

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

  • Nothing new here. When I worked at a high school in Norfolk in the 90s we knew a week to 10 days before the school was to be inspected. It gave the Head plenty of time to draw up a very detailed programme of where all staff should be and what they should be doing. It also gave them time to remove all the kids with behavioural problems and they were taken off on a trip for a few days. If anybody believes that OFSTED inspections are unannounced they are fools.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

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