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Parent complained last year about alleged Ofsted inspection date tip off for Norwich academy

PUBLISHED: 12:18 07 September 2014 | UPDATED: 12:18 07 September 2014

Former education secretary Michael Gove with Rachel de Souza at Ormiston Victory Academy. Photo: Steve Adams

Former education secretary Michael Gove with Rachel de Souza at Ormiston Victory Academy. Photo: Steve Adams

A parent complained to Ofsted last May about allegations a Norwich academy received advance notice of its inspection, it has emerged.

Ormiston Victory Academy’s May 2013 inspection is one of three of schools connected to Dame Rachel de Souza currently being reviewed by Ofsted following claims of early tip offs.

Dame Rachel was principal of Victory at the time of its inspection, which took place on May 14-15, 2013. The two other schools, Thetford Academy and Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, are part of the Inspiration Trust, which is led by Dame Rachel.

The Guardian has reported that a parent, Ian Harris, wrote to Ofsted on May 16, 2013, to complain that a teacher told his daughter the school was “very likely/expected” to be inspected the following week.

Under Ofsted rules, schools should not be told their inspection date before noon on the previous day.

Last month, other staff and pupils who were at Victory Academy at the time of the inspection said they knew when it would take place a week or more in advance, allowing the school to make special preparations.

The Ormiston Academies Trust and Inspiration Trust have denied they received advance notice of inspections. Dame Rachel has said she will not comment while the review in continuing.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “Having conducted a broader check of our systems we have established one complaint about one of the schools, received from a parent, claiming that he had not been made aware of the inspection and that his daughter had been told by teachers that an inspection was due.

“While, for reasons of confidentiality, we cannot share our response to that parent they are free to do so should they wish. In the broadest sense our position was to explain the context of the timing of s5 inspections for schools that had become academies and the likelihood that a school would have a general idea when it was due.

“For clarification, under the framework in use at the time, academies established before 1 September 2011 would receive an inspection under s5 by the end of their third year of operation. In the case of Ormiston Victory by the time of the summer term 2013 they would be in a position to work out that their inspection would be that term.”

Caroline Brooker, headteacher of North Walsham High School, tweeted: “Outrageous that it was not properly investigated at the time. OfSTED is meaningless if it is not transparently fair.”

Ofsted said the review of the three inspections, being carried out by a senior Ofsted official, Sir Robin Bosher, was still ongoing.

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