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Ex-head loses court challenge

A legal challenge to a decision to place a school on special measures has been thrown out of the High Court.

Dave Hill, former headteacher of Old Ford junior school in east London, had claimed the Office for Standards in Education based its decision on a false assumption that most pupils entering the school had an average level of achievement.

But Mr Justice Laws ruled on Tuesday that there were no grounds for granting a judicial review, as there was ample evidence that entrants were of average ability. Key stage 1 tests at Old Ford infant school, the main feeder school, showed that around 80 per cent of pupils were of average ability.

The judge accepted an application by counsel for the chief inspector, Chris Woodhead, for Mr Hill to be ordered to pay OFSTED's costs.

Mr Hill's case was supported by the National Association of Head Teachers. Solicitor Simon Thomas said that it would pay all costs, and added that the NAHT had supported the case because OFSTED had no formal appeals procedure.

Mr Hill, 54, of Sidcup, took early retirement after the OFSTED inspection at the end of 1996.

A spokesman for Tower Hamlets said the council had always been satisfied with OFSTED's assessment.

TES january 30 1998 jez coulson

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