Suspicion that some at the Department for Education and Skills might be living in an alternative universe was confirmed for Richard Greenfield, head of St Edmund's School in Enfield, north London, when he received a letter from the department rejecting his bid for training school status.
"The rejection was disappointing but the reason given, that schools in special measures or with serious weaknesses were not eligible, was shocking," says Mr Greenfield. Shocking because the school is not and never has been in special measures or serious weaknesses. The last time Ofsted visited they judged it good.
"I rang the woman up and told her the mistake but she said we were definitely in special measures. I said we definitely were not and she said we were because her list said we were," Mr Greenfield says.
The next day Mr Greenfield got an apologetic call from another civil servant admitting a terrible mistake had been made but that no change could be made. The Dfes admits five schools were sent similar incorrect rejections. Two rejections were withdrawn but three, including St Edmund's, were told they were judged "undeserving" for other reasons.