Ofsted reviews inspections of three Norfolk schools as Thetford Academy responds to new claims

Adrian Ball, executive principal of Thetford Academy. Adrian Ball, executive principal of Thetford Academy.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014
9:41 AM

The chief inspector of schools for England has announced a review of three Norfolk Ofsted inspections following allegations the academies received advance notice.

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

The news came as one of the schools concerned, Thetford Academy, defended itself against claims some pupils were told not to attend school on the day of its inspection.

It has emerged that allegations some Thetford Academy pupils were told to stay away during its inspection on July 1-2 were raised at a public meeting of the Redcastle Action Group in the town on June 30.

Terry Jermy, county councillor for Thetford West, said up to five residents made the claims, and the Benjamin Foundation confirmed Mike Towndrow, manager of a meet-up café in the town, told the meeting that pupils at the school told him the same thing that evening.

Adrian Ball, executive principal of Thetford Academy, said: “As far as I am aware no students were told that. I will be investigating.”

However, he said it was unlikely because inspectors examined lists of absent pupils on each day of the inspection, and compared them to a list of pupils with a disciplinary record.

Sir Michael Wilshaw said the review of inspections at Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, and Great Yarmouth Primary Academy and Thetford Academy – both members of the Inspiration Trust – will also examine “the wider handling of the sharing of information about our inspection schedules”.

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

Sir Michael said: “Ofsted’s reputation for inspecting without fear or favour is absolutely central to all that we do. 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.”

Ormiston Academies Trust has denied any of its schools received prior notification apart from that allowed under Ofsted rules. Ofsted previously said none of the schools received early warning; the Inspiration Trust has said in a statement “it is false to suggest otherwise”.

Dame Rachel could not be reached.

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

12 comments

  • Has anyone spoken to Theo Agnew about this?

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    TheTruth

    Monday, August 25, 2014

  • Perhaps OFSTED stands for Our Friends Share The Expected Date!

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    moosemurphy

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • What's that I can smell? A rat, if I'm not mistaken? There is also the whiff of a possible resignation Ms de Souza?

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    Bruce87

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • This Trust should be stopped from taking any more of our schools until if and when these allegations are found groundless.

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    Johnboy

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Has anyone spoken to Mr Agnew yet? Seems funny that in the reshuffle Gove and Truss were relocated (the same Truss who spent some time in China with DeSouza this year) then the story breaks.

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    TheTruth

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Disgusting beyond words!!

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    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Everything we heard as 'news' from this principal has had negative connotations, now this bad PR.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Once again a story keeping the academies in the news, the last time for a negative connotation by its principal to skateboarders in Thetford, now for trying to get and advantageous position by OFSTED. Academies want to investigate, inquire, until the cows come home, negative publicity for academies with PR hungry self projecting individuals. Soon I expect them to blame the children for it all going awry.

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    ingo wagenknecht

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • Seems a bit strange that the Headteacher, sorry, Executive Principal (there's obviously a difference), of this school didn't know what was going on during an Ofsted inspection. I would have thought any decent Headteacher is well aware of what is going on, even more so during an Ofsted visit. If stories coming out of the trust are to be believed, it's not like he didn't have time to prepare!!!!!

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    OldSchool

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • It is all starting to unravel, Gove’s policy to allow unscrupulous Principals to organize academies and free schools for their own benefits with regards to salaries and bonuses, treating our children as numbers on a chart while running their little business empires.

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    GreyMan

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • The headteachers should have accepted the unannounced school inspection that Ofsted wanted to implement. This would have reduced teacher stress prior to an Ofsted visit to zero. I am surprised the teaching unions didn't press for unannounced Ofsted inspections, it must be because they see inspections per se as an insult to their professional integrity.

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    Rhombus

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

  • The comments section on this article has been open now for two days. My last two submissions have not been posted and no doubt this applies to many other readers. Draw your own conclusions. Let me try this: " Oh dear, what a carry on!"

    Add your comment | Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Wednesday, August 20, 2014

The views expressed in the above comments do not necessarily reflect the views of this site

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