Angel Road headteacher hits out at Ofsted inspectors

A Norwich headteacher has criticised the 'unprofessional' way Ofsted carried out an assessment of his school.

Len Holman, headteacher at Angel Road Infant School, in New Catton, said 'the quality of the inspection fell woefully short of acceptable standards'.

Ofsted downgraded the school to 'satisfactory' having been rated 'good' and praised for its dramatic improvement in 2009.

Mr Holman said the judgement had come as a surprise, after the school had worked hard to continue developing, but he would have accepted it had he felt the inspection had been fair. He said: 'It's very galling. I expect to be held to account professionally – I have no problem at all with that. The school means everything to us. You invest emotionally. You can accept a judgement providing the inspection is carried out professionally, accurately and the school is challenged.'

The headteacher said the lead inspector had arrived late on both days, kept people waiting for meetings, and no-one from Ofsted had spoken to him at all on the second day other than to deliver their judgement.

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Mr Holman, who is also headteacher at the federated Angel Road Junior, said: 'I'm a veteran of eight inspections. They are always incredibly rigorous, challenging, and at the end of the day you feel totally exhausted. This latest inspection ticked none of those boxes.'

Yesterday, the school received a response from Ofsted which upheld two of the complaints, including one relating to the use of out-of-date test results, and promised lessons would be learned.

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Regarding the lead inspector's time-keeping, it said: 'It is clear from the evidence gathered it kept the governing body waiting for a considerable amount of time.

'I conclude the lead inspector acted inappropriately.'

The final report – which has now been re-published following the complaint – rated the school as 'satisfactory' with 13 'good' judgements.

Summing up, it said: 'The school provides a satisfactory quality of education for all its pupils, no matter how diverse their needs may be. This is achieved within a warm and caring learning environment so that pupils feel very safe and happy.'

Inspectors have asked staff to continue raising standards in maths by challenging pupils of all abilities and recommends finding ways to ensure more able pupils are not left waiting while others catch up.

Mr Holman acknowledged there was a significant amount of praise in the report but said: 'It was difficult to focus on the positives.'

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