Falmouth primary school head slams Ofsted after rating downgrade
A PRIMARY school has criticised the “new political direction” of Ofsted after it was downgraded from the highest rating during its last inspection.
During the Ofsted visit in July, staff at St Francis Church of England (CofE) Primary School in Falmouth were told by inspectors that they judged the school to be Outstanding.
But when the inspection team called head office to authorise the rating, the judgement was withdrawn.
“During the Inspection, the Ofsted team told us that much of what they saw was ‘exemplary’ and the ‘best they’d ever seen’ and therefore judged as Outstanding overall,” said head teacher, Claire Fortey.
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“However, because of the new political direction of Ofsted, the inspectors had to telephone Ofsted HQ to authorise their Outstanding judgement, to be categorically told that this would not be allowed.
“Both the school and the Inspection team contested this, but without success.”
Hitting out at the inspectorate, Ms Fortey said Ofsted appeared to be “determined” to limit the number of positive judgements it awards to schools.
“In simple terms, the inspection team gave St Francis the judgement of Outstanding overall, but Ofsted HQ gave the judgement of Good overall,” she said.
An Ofsted spokesperson said it was unable to comment on St Francis’s inspection because it had yet to publish the school’s inspection report.
But he said: “On occasion, the lead inspector will contact the duty desk to discuss the emerging evidence, but it is the inspection team which decides upon and confirms the final rating.
“It is wrong to suggest that inspectors are told not to give a particular judgement.”
St Franis' Ofsted report praised the “typically outstanding teaching,” the “high quality” planning of lessons and the curriculum and teachers, who were described as “highly effective” and successfully delivering “innovative and exciting teaching.”
Ms Fortey said its Ofsted report described the safety of all pupils as “impeccable at all times,” with pupils described as ”courteous, well mannered and unreservedly positive.”
Outstanding leadership and management was described by the report as “excellent.”
The report, which also rated pupil achievement as Good, said it recognised that “outstanding teaching is ensuring more pupils make accelerated progress.”
Ms Fortey said: “Despite all of the political nonsense, St Francis can celebrate the fact we have been recognised as achieving the highest possible grades in so many areas on a regular day to day basis.”
“We are all delighted that our continued Outstanding practices have been recognised this way, especially as all schools are suffering from the current political agenda set by Ofsted which appears to be determined to limit the number of positive judgements it awards to schools.”