An inspector calls

27th March 2009 at 00:00
We weren't happy with the conclusion of a recent inspection on our school. Do we have a right of appeal if we disagree with the inspectors?

If you disagree with the inspection judgments, these are not subject to appeal. It is therefore important to take every opportunity to discuss judgments with the lead inspector during the inspection. By the end of the inspection you should feel confident that the inspector has made the final judgments on the basis of all of the evidence available.

If you disagree with the way the inspection has been carried out, there is a procedure for making a complaint. If you are unhappy about the conduct of inspectors or about any aspect of the inspection, then, in the first instance, you should raise these concerns with the lead inspector during the inspection.

Complaints after the inspection normally have to be lodged in writing within three months of the report being published. For inspections carried out by Additional Inspectors (any inspector not employed by Ofsted as one of Her Majesty's Inspectors), any complaints made after the inspection should be raised with the Regional Inspection Service Provider (RISP) that organised the inspection on Ofsted's behalf. This will be the company that first contacted the school to notify you of the inspection. It will ensure that a manager goes through the complaint to flag the specific points that need to be answered. If your inspection was led by an HMI, then the complaint will be considered by Ofsted's complaints manager rather than the RISP.

The complaint, and the manager's summary of the points to answer, are sent to the lead and any team inspectors for their response. Inspectors are under instruction not to confer but to respond individually.

Complaints are taken seriously and treated as urgent. The findings of the investigating officer are usually communicated within 20 working days, and will set out any aspects of the complaint that have been upheld and any that have not been.

Selwyn Ward has been an inspector for 15 years, working in primary and secondary schools. The views expressed here are his own. To ask him a question, email him at features@tes.co.uk.

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