Council calls on minister to look at school report
COUNCILLORS have called for a fresh look at the Ofsted inspection process that marked as failing a previously outstanding village school in Stroud.
Members of the Stroud District Council agreed at their latest full meeting to request the Secretary of State for Education Michael Gove to review the recent Ofsted report on King's Stanley Primary School.
The inspectors placed the school in special measures after grading it as outstanding the previous time they visited.
The shock among the school and wider village community triggered upset and protests.
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Among them was a 1,100 name petition from parents and their supporters which triggered the special council discussion.
Parent Alan Bladon presented the petitioners' arguments to the meeting at Ebley Mill, stressing that the school felt the failing grade was designed to force it into becoming an academy.
Mr Bladon claimed Ofsted's private contractors Tribal who'd carried out the inspection "didn't follow processes and look at all the evidence – their judgements were not substantiated." King's Stanley Primary School is currently appealing the Ofsted grading.
Immediately after Ofsted's visit, academy brokers were assigned to King's Stanley to try to persuade the school to take that status, even though the school had voted against it, Mr Bladon said.
"This is about being forced to do something that we don't believe is right for our school and our children," Mr Bladon said.
Ofsted said it would be inappropriate to comment while King's Stanley's appeal against its grading was ongoing.
However a spokeswoman said: "Ofsted does not have a preferred model for schools.
"Its overall objective is to ensure that all children, regardless of the postcode they come from and regardless of whether they attend an academy, free school or maintained school, have access to a good quality education.
"Across the school system it is not the structure of a school that makes the biggest difference to performance but the quality of leadership at the school. "This is where our focus must lie if we are to make major improvements in the standard of education in England," the Ofsted spokeswoman said.