Review Claims Norfolk Schools Told Ofsted Coming

24 October 2014, 16:13 | Updated: 24 October 2014, 16:25

HM Chief Inspector of Schools has today announced his intention, in the light of new evidence, to appoint an independent figure to review and assure the internal investigation carried out by Ofsted into alleged inspection irregularities in three Norfolk schools.

Sir Michael Wilshaw's decision follows the emergence since last weekend of a number of new emails that weren't available to Sir Robin at the time of his original investigation. (See below)

The appointment of the independent reviewer will be confirmed in the next few days.

Sir Michael said: "The ongoing claims that have been made about certain schools in Norfolk being given advance notice of Ofsted inspections are very serious. It is vital that the public has absolute confidence in the integrity of the inspection process. That is why I immediately asked Sir Robin Bosher to examine these allegations when they first surfaced in August.

Sir Robin conducted a thorough investigation, which included 39 interviews with relevant parties and visits to the three academies in question. But I made a public commitment that should any additional evidence come to light, I would have no hesitation in bringing in someone from outside Ofsted to examine this.

For the avoidance of any doubt, I will be asking this independent reviewer to examine all the evidence originally considered by Sir Robin and to establish whether his findings and recommendations still stand in the light of the new email evidence that has now emerged."

The report (now to be independently reviewed in light of new information):

The internal investigation and review commenced on 19 August 2014 and was led by Sir Robin Bosher, Ofsted’s Director of Quality and Training. The investigation was commissioned following publication of an article in The Observer newspaper on
Sunday 17 August 2014 that alleged three schools in Norfolk had been given unauthorised advanced notice of their forthcoming inspection dates.

The schools named in the article were:

Ormiston Victory Academy, Norwich (section 5 inspection on 14 and 15 May 2013)

Thetford Academy (special measures monitoring inspection on 1 July 2014)

Great Yarmouth Primary Academy (section 5 inspection on 13 and 14 May 2014)

The report's main finding was the investigation team found no evidence to substantiate the allegations the three schools in question had improperly received prior notification of the dates of their Ofsted inspections in order to put them at an unfair advantage. "