School takes Ofsted to court to challenge publication of highly critical report

Topics covered: Ridouts professional advice

The school, which is protected from identification, is currently in the high court seeking to prevent publication of a damning inspection report which threatens the schools existence.

The school is seeking an injunction against publication of the alleged pre-conceived opinions of inspectors contained in the report in relation to the school’s decision to segregate boys and girls from year five upwards for all activities. The school admits boys and girls from the ages of four to sixteen. The school alleges that it was not fairly inspected and there was clear evidence of bias by inspectors in relation to the practice of segregation. It is alleged that Ofsted inspectors pre-determined that the practice was unlawful before visiting the school.  Interestingly, the local education authority is supportive of the school in its challenge against Ofsted.

Ofsted has stated that it has been taken to court for injunction or judicial review in relation to its inspection reports four times in 2016. Three of these have resulted in publication of the reports in question. The fourth is this current case which is in front of the high court. Should the injunction be granted, it might make it easier for other schools to challenge the publication of inspection reports.

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