What is holding up Ofsted’s full report about Oldfield School, Bath? 1,000 signatures on a petition haven’t prompted publication. What's going on?

Janet Downs's picture
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“During this inspection, Ofsted received a number of complaints from staff and from the local authority which lie outside its remit. The issues underpinning these complaints have been passed to the Department for Education for further consideration.”

Ofsted Section 8 monitoring inspection report, Oldfield School, Bath.

The monitoring inspection, which took place from 11-13 December 2013, was upgraded to a full inspection. But the full inspection report hasn’t been officially published yet and parents want to know the reason why. What were these “complaints” which were beyond Ofsted’s “remit”? 1,000 people have signed a petition asking for immediate publication of the full report.

Ofsted has not yet done so.

However, a document, claimed to be a copy of the full Ofsted report, has appeared on a charity’s website and unsolicited copies were sent to local councillors. A local paper also has a copy.

But no-one can comment on what is contained in the report until Ofsted officially releases it.

The Section 8 monitoring report, however, is on Ofsted’s website. It recommended an external review of governance at the academy. Senior Department for Education (DfE) officials have already met with the academy’s head to set up an inquiry. And it’s been reported that the DfE is reading a “dossier of information” about the academy from Bath MP Don Foster. It’s believed the DfE inquiry will go beyond aspects of governance to cover concerns about the running of the academy which led to the local authority, which has no influence over the academy, offering counselling to academy staff.

Despite all this, the academy is upbeat. Its February newsletter says how “delighted” it was with Ofsted’s feedback. The academy’s Ofsted page gives top billing to the 2012 Outstanding judgement followed by positive remarks from the Section 8 monitoring report. Critical remarks were omitted.

It is not known why Ofsted is delaying publication of the full report. I have submitted a Freedom of Information request today asking for reasons for the hold up.

In the meanwhile, it is forbidden to comment on anything in the Ofsted report published unofficially. In the circumstances, it is essential that Ofsted publish the report immediately so parents, pupils, staff and the local community can discuss the report’s contents.

NOTE: Please don’t comment on the full Ofsted report until it has been published officially. We will have to remove any comments about the report’s contents.

UPDATE 11 MARCH 7.40

The above thread has been amended. The sentence "a copy of the report has appeared on a charity’s website" has been changed to "a document, claimed to be a copy of the full Ofsted report, has appeared on a charity’s website".
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David Barry's picture
Mon, 10/03/2014 - 15:28

Regarding this unpublished report the cat is indeed well out: by this stage lots of people must have downloaded copies sitting on their hard drive, - I have one myself- and it would surprise me if laser printers have not been humming in Bath as well as all the downloading..... and I would think that by mid week at the latest every parent at Oldfield school who wants one will have had a copy.


Janet Downs's picture
Mon, 10/03/2014 - 17:11

David - that's true but it's important that no comments are made about the report's contents until Ofsted publishes it.


John Wadsworth's picture
Mon, 10/03/2014 - 16:16

I am a governor of a secondary school where something similar happened. We were inspected at the end of the summer term in 2013 and graded 2 across the board but by end September the report still hadn't been published. The head contacted the contractor (in this case Tribal) and was referred back to OFSTED. In the end after a lot of to-ing and fro-ing OFSTED informed her that they were downgrading the school to a 3 in all categories and that a new report would be issued. She challenged this and eventually HMI (reluctantly) visited the school for a meeting but despite not seeing any lessons changed the report and made a number of negative comments about the school that were not supported by any evidence. Final upshot was that after threatening them with a judicial review, HMI upgraded 2 categories to 2 but would not change anything else. The school made a formal complaint about OFSTED about them being in breach of their own procedures which was upheld. Ultimately following a bruising procedure, no-one in either the Governing Body or school trusts OFSTED. I think they are being used as a political tool by Gove and can no longer be trusted.


David Barry's picture
Mon, 10/03/2014 - 22:09

Janet:

I completely accept its essential that no one comments on this site about the reports contents until they are published officially.

I was just underlining the absurdity of the position thereby created, but which is not of the Local Schools Network's making.

Janet Downs's picture
Wed, 12/03/2014 - 13:15

According to a local paper, Ofsted have told the children's charity which published the "leaked" Ofsted report about Oldfield School to take it down. The head, meanwhile, has told parents to ignore the document as it has "no legal status".


David Barry's picture
Sun, 16/03/2014 - 17:22

The "no legal basis" line was repeated, it seems in a letter sent to the Bath Chronicle, by the Chair of Governors of Oldfied, Julie Cope. She sent this letter out the day before a special meeting of Governors called at the request of one of the Governors.

LETTER STARTS

Letter from chair of governors Julie Cope

Over the last few weeks the Bath Chronicle has published a series of stories concerning our school, following on from an Ofsted inspection.

With so much coverage having been given from other perspectives, I trust that my letter will be published unchanged and in full.

Can I say from the start that these speculative stories fuelling rumour and speculation have been unsettling and upsetting for all those concerned with the welfare and progress of our students.

Until Ofsted published its final report we have been in no position to respond on this matter. Any report in draft form is exactly what it says: a draft with no official status and which has now been superseded by the final, definitive version, a letter.

Ofsted has now published the results of its inspection and these are freely available on its website and on ours.

In summary, these conclude that: “the school’s safeguarding arrangements meet requirements”.

Many positive comments were made in the letter, not least that our students “show outstanding attitudes to learning”, “show respect to their teachers” and that “relationships across the school are strong”. Moreover, only “a very small amount of poor behaviour was observed”.

There were several constructive suggestions made on improving our policies and procedures, which have now been implemented. An external review of governance was also made a priority, and we are now working hard towards this. The report also notes that several complaints have been passed to the Department of Education for further consideration, but these did not form part of the inspection’s remit.

We are confident that all these matters can be resolved.

Oldfield’s proud record of being graded as an “outstanding” school is unchanged. To achieve that status means we are outstanding in all categories: achievement, teaching, behaviour and leadership and management.

Everyone who knows the history of Oldfield School will be aware that we have had to fight a number of battles - not least to prevent closure by the local authority. We have fought and won all those battles; and now, in part assisted by our new academy status, we have a school with excellent facilities, superb staff, supportive parents and hard-working, motivated pupils.

I am sure there will be those who disagree with our approach or have a problem with our success, but our primary concern is for our students.

We look forward to continuing to be a school that the Bath community can be proud of.

LETTER ENDS

David Barry's picture
Sun, 16/03/2014 - 17:30

The next day the Governors met, and Ms Cope resigned as chiar. The Bath Chronicle's view is that she was "forced to resign" but, be that as it may she was then elected to the position of vice chair. (This position was vacant because the previous holder resigned a couple of weeks ago, complaining it appears, that governors in general and himself in particular were being left uninformed as to what was going on.)

An odd twist is that the governor who requistioned the special meeting was not permitted to attend it as, it was discovered by the school that his application for a DBS check (what used to be called CRB checks) and which he had made 18 months before, had in the event not been processed, and so he was disqualified as a governor. Or as the Bath Chronicle put it:

"he completed a form in the wrong-coloured ink and was informed he was no longer a governor yesterday morning - just a few hours before last night’s crunch meeting, which he had been instrumental in demanding."

David Barry's picture
Fri, 21/03/2014 - 17:10

The latest development on this is that the Bath Chronicle has now posted a story which contains quotes from the unpublished report, suggesting to me that the paper's lawyers reckon it is so widely disseminated by now that there is little that can be done by the Academy lawyers. Moreover no legal action has, in the event, been taken against the Children's charity who decided to post it on their web site, and got a formal request, which they refused, to take it down.

Here is the Bath Chronicle link:

http://www.bathchronicle.co.uk/Union-calls-head-s-resignation/story-2083...

David Barry's picture
Fri, 21/03/2014 - 17:13

But of course the report, which one parent described as being "handed around in hard copy at his local pub" and from which the Bath Chronicle is quoting, is still "unpublished"


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