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Ofsted allowed to appeal Durand High Court ruling

Ofsted's annual report reveals it received 13 threats of legal action over its inspection reports in 2017-18

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Ofsted's annual report reveals it received 13 threats of legal action over its inspection reports in 2017-18

Ofsted has can appeal against a High Court ruling that quashed a report that would have put one of England’s most controversial schools into special measures.

Durand Academy, in south London, disputed an Ofsted report that followed an inspection in November and December 2016.

The report has not officially been published, but briefly appeared on the inspectorate’s website in February.

Following a two-day High Court hearing last July, Judge McKenna quashed the report due to concerns about Ofsted’s complaints process.

He described a key aspect of Ofsted’s complaints procedure as “not a rational or fair process”.

The dispute centred on Ofsted rules that mean that when an ‘inadequate’ school complains about its report, the judgement itself would not be reconsidered “because all such judgements are subject to extended quality assurance procedures”.

Judge McKenna wrote: "The absence of any ability effectively to challenge the report renders the complaints procedures unfair and in my judgement vitiates the report."

At the time, Ofsted said it would “consider whether any clarification of our complaints procedure may be required”.

The judgement raised the possibility that other schools that had been found ‘inadequate’ could challenge their reports in the courts, and Ofsted said it would seek to appeal against the ruling.

Now, Ofsted’s annual report and accounts for 2017-18, published today, has revealed that it has been given permission to appeal against the judgement in the Durand case.

The report adds that in 2017-18, Ofsted received 13 threats of legal action over its inspection reports.

By the end of March, no proceedings had been issues for six of these, one case was settled, and five cases were described as “ongoing”.

The case brought by training provider Learn Direct was successfully defended, and Ofsted was awarded costs.

Durand, which has been at the centre of a long-running dispute with the DfE, is due to be taken over by Dunraven Education Trust in September.

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