Outstanding school put into special measures ‘because it did not have a fence’: Headteachers attack Ofsted over ‘whimsical’ inspections

The Telegraph reports that an outstanding school was put into special measures because it did not have a fence, headteachers have said as they attacked Ofsted over their “whimsical” attitude to school safety.

Delegates at the National Association of Headteachers annual conference in Shropshire unanimously passed a motion to “deplore” a spate of recent instances where inspectors had made “inconsistent” judgements on safeguarding measures.

In some cases, this resulted in inspectors “automatically failing” schools on safeguarding, occasionally over spurious reasons, teachers heard. 

Michael Brookes, a delegate from Cumbria told how an outstanding school was put into special measures because it did not have a fence.

Speaking in favour of the motion, he added: “I wonder whether there is a case to take safeguarding out of the Ofsted education framework and having some separate facility for measuring schools.”

Proposing the motion, Eugene Symonds told how one one inspector told a school that children were not safe because teachers did not actively go and find out the whereabouts of every child is who has not arrived at school that morning.

Inspectors told teachers they that if a child does not arrive for classes on time  they should go round to their house and “physically be going to get them out of bed and getting them to school”.

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “Ofsted does not set the standards that schools and other education providers have to meet on safeguarding. Our job is to inspect against the standards and statutory guidance set by the Department for Education.

“If a school’s safeguarding arrangements do not meet these requirements, then at inspection we will judge them to be ineffective, this will lead to an overall inadequate judgement.”

Read more Outstanding school put into special measures ‘because it did not have a fence’

Do you know of a school that has been affected by Ofsteds “whimsical” attitude to school safety? Do you think that safeguarding measures should be assessed separately? Please tell us your thoughts in comments or on Twitter ~ Tamsin

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  1. Nairb1

    The safeguarding industry, and that’s what it is, is out of control, with schools spending an inordinate amount of time making sure they don’t get into Ofsted trouble over things which make no difference to pupils’ safety or wellbeing.

    Ofsted’s disingenuous and inconsistent approach simply compounds the problem.

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