Ofsted removes school’s ‘inadequate’ rating after internal review

School that launched legal bid wins rare reinspection after watchdog admits its findings were 'not reliable'

School that launched legal bid wins rare reinspection after watchdog admits its findings were 'not reliable'

9 Jun 2023, 17:48

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Ofsted has removed a school’s ‘inadequate’ inspection report from its website after admitting its findings were “not reliable”, in a highly rare move.

Queen Emma Primary School in Cambridge was inspected in October and given the lowest rating over its leadership and management and safeguarding.

It launched a legal bid against the watchdog in a dispute over evidence for the findings, lodging an application with the High Court for a judicial review of the report.

It separately lodged a formal complaint with Ofsted, which was not upheld, and requested an internal review over the way it was handled.

Ofsted said that during the review, it became “apparent that we had not considered concerns about the personal development judgment sufficiently”.

“This cast some doubt over that particular judgment. As a result, we have removed the report from our website and we will reinspect the school.”

The inspectorate deemed the report’s findings “not reliable” following the review, according to headteacher Sarah Jarman.

It has now “set aside” the inspection, she said, with a new graded inspection to take place “as soon as possible”.

Such a move is very rare. Ofsted’s latest annual report shows that of 718 complaints closed last year, just three resulted in a change in the overall effectiveness grade.

Questions over legal action remain

Queen Emma had accused an inspector of taking away confidential information about children, resulting in a beach of data security.

In an impact statement as part of the school’s complaint to Ofsted, Jarman said the inspection experience had “shattered every piece of self-belief I have”.

“Without doubt, the negative connotations will stay with me for the rest of my life”.

Last month, she told Schools Week that the school was seeking a judicial review with the “expectation that Ofsted will most likely say to us ‘there’s nothing wrong with this inspection”.

But she declined to comment today on whether legal action would now be dropped.

Queens Federation, which runs both Queen Emma and Queen Edith Primary School, would not comment further until the reinspection of the former and an overdue inspection for the latter has taken place.

A crowdfunder to raise cash for the legal challenge has so far raised £6,762.

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  1. Shocking to weaken the inspection process and outcome. Teachers moan about pressure of ofsted, perhaps now it will give them some understanding of the pressure children are under at exam time. We have to have inspections and nothing should interfere with the outcome or they are worthless. If schools are failing parents have a right to know and qct accordingly. Schools exist to serve our children and parents , they need to just suck it up and make improvements

    • You know it’s not the teachers’ fault there are so many exams with so much pressure on the children, right? Most teachers would rather do without, but it’s not their choice or decision.

      As for Ofsted, you said one thing right in your comment – inspections ARE worthless.

      And schools do not exist to serve anyone, let alone parents. Schools exist to educate children. Parents, we can do without. In fact, without parents like you, the job would be so much more enjoyable.

    • Chris

      Absolutely agree Viv ,my child’s school have totally let her down in her education not once but three times ! I am a ex educator and am am shocked to the core of how my child has been treated. If your doing your Job properly then you shouldn’t have no confidence in yourself . Someone needs to be accountable for my child’s gaps that are now effecting her work ,the leaders should not be let off for the mistakes that are affecting my child’s work that’s how it looks to me ,I agree with reward or punish , because patents are not taken seriously but ofstead are .

    • Chris

      But the result was worthless Viv, because as Ofsted admitted, only after being threatened with legal action, they were wrong in the first place and then they were wrong to reject the appeal. I am not a teacher, I am a Governor, and I would have done the same thing. Inspections are fine if, they are conducted properly and are properly considered.

    • James Johnson

      Wow, I believe that Ofsted is needed, but Ofsted need to practice what they preach, I recently witnessed an inspection that was carried out in a terrible way, from the way the inspected treated the children, her lack of SEN training to very poor judgement on what questions she should ask in front of the children.
      The inspectors need to carry out more training to understand SEN and be to standardise the whole inspection.
      An Assessor has to be CAVA qualified and I believe the same sort of qualification should be made mandatory for the inspectors to be able to carry out a fair assessment/inspection.