Ofsted

Ofsted: School rated ‘good’ after ‘inadequate’ rating legal challenge

The 'only change' since the first inspection 'was the inspector', Queen Emma primary school chair says after new rating

The 'only change' since the first inspection 'was the inspector', Queen Emma primary school chair says after new rating

11 Sep 2023, 10:30

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Ofsted has rated a school good after overturning its recent inadequate judgment

Ofsted has rated a school as ‘good’ after removing a previous ‘inadequate’ report from its website amid a legal challenge.

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

But a new inspection took place in June, with inspectors finding that all areas of the school were good and safeguarding was effective.

The report has now been published on the school’s website.

Sean Lang, chair of governors at Queen Emma, told the BBC that the “only change [since the first inspection] was the inspector”.

“Had we not put up such a fight against the original finding we would still have an inadequate rating,” he added.

The school had previously launched a legal bid against the watchdog in a dispute over evidence for its initial findings.

It had lodged an application with the High Court for a judicial review of the October report, as well as formal complaint with Ofsted.

Though Ofsted did not uphold the complaint, the school requested an internal review over the way it was handled.

Back in June, the inspectorate said 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”, leading Ofsted to remove the report from its website and promise to reinspect the school.

Ofsted prompted by legal fight

The move was highly rare. Ofsted latest annual report shows that of complaints about 747 inspections of all settings in 2022-23, just five led to overall effectiveness judgments being changed.

The watchdog has been criticised over inconsistencies within its school inspections.

Following its initial inspection, Queen Emma had accused an inspector of taking away confidential information about children, resulting in a breach of data security.

A statement released by the school said “no substantive changes” were made within the school between the two inspections.

It added that the new report “fully vindicates” its legal challenge to the original report.

“It shows that Ofsted can carry out its functions professionally and supportively; however, the school’s experience of Ofsted inspection over the past year shows that this cannot be guaranteed in every case.”

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

The new report sets out that leaders had established an “effective” safeguarding culture, “underpinned by a reliable and well-understood system for reporting and sharing concerns”.

Staff had “impactful training” and felt “empowered” to fulfil their safeguarding roles, meanwhile pupils enjoyed “being part of a diverse and welcoming community”.

Inspectors added that the school “is a place for learning and for making friends”.

Ofsted has been contacted for comment.

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