Ofsted 'mistakenly' emailed school inspection date

Sir Michael Wilshaw in a classroom Image copyright PA
Image caption Her Majesty's Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw commissioned the investigation

A governor of a school in Norfolk was "mistakenly" sent advance notice of an Ofsted inspection.

Ofsted launched an investigation after a report in The Observer newspaper claimed three academy schools got more than the usual half-day notice.

It found Dame Rachel de Souza, the then chair of governors of Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, received an email with the date of an inspection.

Ofsted said the mistake was spotted and the inspection date was changed.

The other two schools at the centre of the investigation were Ormiston Victory Academy, in Norwich, and Thetford Academy.

Image caption Dame Rachel de Souza was sent the email by mistake

The schools all have links to Dame Rachel, who was principal at the Norwich school and is the current chief executive of the Inspiration Trust, which runs the academies in Thetford and Great Yarmouth.

She received an email about the planned inspection a few days after joining Ofsted as a part-time seconded inspector, on 1 April.

"The investigation team established that, on 4 April 2014, Dame Rachel de Souza and a second part-time seconded inspector were mistakenly included among the recipients of a group email sent to a group of new inspectors by their trainer," the report said.

"This email contained details of a number of planned school inspections beyond those that the two seconded inspectors were due to be involved in themselves.

"Among the schools listed in this email was Great Yarmouth Primary Academy."

'No unfair advantage'

The report, written by Sir Robin Bosher, Ofsted's director of quality and training, said the inspection was rescheduled once the "error" was spotted.

It said: "The investigation team found no evidence that the three schools in question had improperly received prior notification of the dates of their Ofsted inspections in order to put them at an unfair advantage."

Ofsted said the academy was subsequently inspected in May, when it was found to be 'good'.

A further, unannounced, inspection of the school was carried out in September "to mitigate any possible risk that Great Yarmouth Primary Academy could have been placed at an advantage", Ofsted said.

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