More schools complain about Ofsted

More schools complain about Ofsted

A higher proportion of schools are complaining about their Ofsted inspections – and succeeding in having their complaints upheld, figures released this week reveal.

Schools inspectorate Ofsted published its annual accounts and report on Tuesday detailing the number of complaints made by all inspected parties.

Between April 2014 and March 2015, it had received 439 formal complaints about school inspections, affecting 5 per cent of them overall. The number of complaints is lower than last year, when 475 complaints were made, but represents a 1 per cent higher proportion as the inspectorate completed fewer activities this year.

Complainants were also marginally more successful. In 2012-13, 31 per cent of formal complaints regarding schools were upheld; this year 35 per cent were upheld.

Eighty-one school complainants asked for an internal review, and 13 cases were taken to the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service, a 7 per cent increase on the previous year.

However, Mary Bousted, general secretary of the Association of Teachers and Lecturers and a prominent critic of Ofsted, questioned whether Ofsted ought to be dealing with its own complaints.

“There’s no independent guarantee . . . that it is being done in a rigorous way or that it will change outcomes that were not justified.

“There is every pressure on Ofsted to hold the line, and not change grades, given that any changes will give critics the evidence to question their judgments.”

Only 16 inspection results in total were changed after formal complaint, and four after internal review. This represents a change in 0.01 per cent of all inspection activities.

Ofsted quote: “”There was a small increase in the proportion of complaints about school inspections in 2014/15 compared to the previous year, as we reported this week.

“However, the overall proportion of inspections that lead to a complaint remains low across all our remits. The important thing for Ofsted is that those we inspect have confidence in our complaints handling procedures.

“We are committed to ensuring every complaint is investigated thoroughly and independently and that we report the outcomes of all complaints in an open and transparent manner.”