9th February 2007 at 00:00
Q. What is the position of Ofsted when an inspection has failed to identify serious weakness and the lead inspector has disregarded staff concerns, voiced at private interviews, about what was being presented?

A. Inspectors will not necessarily agree with concerns just because they are raised but I would expect the points to be recorded in their evidence. They would normally be followed up as additional issues and the conclusions recorded. That does not mean they would necessarily appear in the report, just as there will be issues flagged up in inspectors' pre-inspection briefing that turn out not to be significant, get recorded in inspection evidence as "closed" and not mentioned in the report.

If you think evidence has been unreasonably ignored and the report is seriously misleading, there is an option to lodge a complaint. During an inspection, complaints would normally be made to the lead inspector. Any arising after that should be raised, in the first instance, with the regional inspection service provider which organised the inspection on Ofsted's behalf. Ofsted's complaints procedure can be found on the Ofsted website:

Q. Under what circumstances can an Ofsted inspection be deferred? If it is postponed, when is it likely to be rescheduled? Is there a timescale?

A. Once a school has been notified of its inspection, the grounds for deferral are limited. They can be downloaded from Ofsted's website.

These include the head being under police investigation, death of a pupil or member of staff and three-quarters or more of the pupils not being at school because of a scheduled trip or religious holiday.

Schools that have only just opened and those scheduled for imminent closure could expect a deferral request to be granted. Ofsted's guidance says that building works would not normally be accepted as grounds for deferral if the pupils are in school.

Where a deferral is granted, for example if all pupils were due to be out of school on the scheduled inspection day, Ofsted commonly reschedules within two or three days Selwyn Ward draws on years of inspection experience. The views expressed here are his own. To ask him a question contact him at Selwyn regularly answers your Ofsted questions on our forums at

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