What happens when Ofsted says complaints it's received are outside its remit? asks concerned Bath parent

Tony de Tiger's picture
 12
Does anyone know of a school where Ofsted has been in and found concerns - but then not been able to report on them as they are "out of its remit"?

This is happening at my child's school and I am obviously really concerned.

So:

A) Does anyone know if there is anyway of finding out what these concerns are?

b) If this kind of thing is common?

c) A petition has been set up. If, like me, you think that this is wrong - it would be great if you could sign it...
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Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 14/02/2014 - 10:06

The local paper says the surprise Ofsted inspection of Oldfield School beginning 11 December 2013 was "upgraded" to a full inspection. However, the report, which was not published until 13 February 2014, was not one for a full inspection.

The published report was a "Section 8 inspection report" described in the letter sent to the head as "No formal designation monitoring inspection."

The inspection was triggered by complaints about the effectiveness of safeguarding arrangements at Oldfield. Ofsted found "the school's safeguarding arrangements meet requirements". However, inspectors found issues with record keeping, training of the "designated officer for child protection" and lack of confidence in the governing body's oversight of complaints and whistleblowing.

Inspectors added that "an external review of governance should be undertaken, in conjunction with the Department for Education, in order to assess how this aspect of leadership and management may be improved."

Inspectors acknowledged they had received complaints from staff and the local authority which "lie outside its remit". These issues have been sent to the DfE.

It is unknown what these issues are. It is this lack of transparency which concerns parents.

The Section 8 report can be downloaded here.


Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 14/02/2014 - 11:52

Ofsted gives guidance about what complaints are outside its remit. They include:

1 cases involving individual pupils;
2 admission procedures
3 judging how well a school has investigated a complaint

The full guidance can be downloaded here:



Andy V's picture
Fri, 14/02/2014 - 12:34

A perusal of the case leads me to believe that this is not so much a case of a parental complaint about the academies treatment of a pupil but is about the Head Teacher's leadership and management in relation to staff and the governing body. This being the case then the complaints seem to be rooted in employment law and/or teachers standards and conditions of service, which are more properly addressed through any one of:

1. Formal internal grievance/complaints policy
2. Workplace union representation
3. Legal advice regarding employment law and possible referral to an Employment Tribunal

Had the complaint been more generally based then an alternative and complementary avenue to Janet's advice can be found at:

http://www.education.gov.uk/aboutdfe/executiveagencies/efa/efaebulletins...

Tony de Tiger's picture
Fri, 14/02/2014 - 12:56

Thanks Janet. Is there anything that we can do to see what the exact issues are. Are they impacting on the kids or is it "just" the leaders bullying staff??


Tony de Tiger's picture
Fri, 14/02/2014 - 12:58

I agree Andy. There are some brilliant teachers there, but something is obviously deeply wrong in the school and I just want to ensure my child is happy there - not learning in an environment of bullying!


Janet Downs's picture
Fri, 14/02/2014 - 13:39

Tony - the petition might throw some light on the matter. However, the DfE has been sent the complaints and might not wish to comment while investigations are going on in case exposure makes it difficult to make impartial inquiries.

I've never come across a situation like this before. I don't know if and when the DfE will publish any conclusions. It might be worth writing to your MP to ask for notification of when the investigation is completed and then request its findings. If the report isn't published after investigations are finished you might have to try Freedom of Information. You can submit FoI requests by signing on at this website:

https://www.whatdotheyknow.com/

Janet Downs's picture
Tue, 04/03/2014 - 17:13

Tony - you're probably aware of this but a senior official from the DfE is visiting the academy in the light of complaints, a local paper revealed.


Andy V's picture
Sun, 09/03/2014 - 11:34

Ofsted Handbook issued 31 July 2013 for use from September 2013:

Inadequate (4)
The school is likely to be inadequate if inspectors judge any of the following to be inadequate:
the achievement of pupils
pupils’ progress in literacy
the quality of teaching
the behaviour and safety of pupils
the quality of the leadership in, and management of, the school
and/or
there are serious weaknesses in the overall promotion of pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development or their physical wellbeing.

In any inspection the report (draft or final) must be supported and validated by the appropriate Evidence Forms. If it isn't or doesn't match that scrutiny then the inspection will be deemed flawed and set aside before a fresh inspection. The usual team composition is dictated by the size of the school, its 3 year results record and/or any known complaints. Thus is it not unusual to see a team of 3-4 additional inspectors with one designated lead inspector. Nor is it that unusual to see 1 HMI included but more than that and it would be reasonable to be quizzical. In my first Ofsted experience as a senior leader (2005) our school of 875 was undertaken by 5 HMIs. We - the new SLT (HY, 2 x DHT and AHT) were ecstatic to come out of it with Satisfactory.

It should be remember that Governors, HTs and I believe parents can submit a FoI request to Ofsted for copies of every Evidence Form after an inspection.

agov's picture
Mon, 10/03/2014 - 08:32

There may have been a link to the charity then but not now. But as you say the charity is easily found and all documents easily downloaded.


oldfield_parent's picture
Mon, 10/03/2014 - 09:46

Anyone can submit an FoI request to Ofsted - it's a general right and is not restricted to Governors, HTs or parents. And you don't have to explain why you want the information. See http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/freedom-of-information

That page refers to Evidence Forms as follows:

"Can I see the evidence from a particular inspection?
"We will not generally disclose inspection evidence to the public until the inspection has been completed, the report published and the period in which the judgement may be subject to challenge has passed. Once this period has passed we can consider disclosure, however some information will remain exempt, particularly the personal data of staff, children and other individuals."

So... is the judgement (as published in the Section 8 inspection report) still subject to challenge? If not, an FoI request might unearth useful, publishable information about the evidence.

Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 10/03/2014 - 12:16

The Bath Chronicle has asked that links should not be given to the children's charity, Fair Play for Children, which posted the unpublished Ofsted report about Oldfield School, Bath, for legal reasons.

All comments which gave links to Fair Play for Children have been removed.

http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Children-s-charity-posts-unpublished-Oldf...


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