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

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now