Head complains to Ofsted after shock inspection outcome

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Ofsted is considering a complaint about the inspection of a Brighton secondary, after the school received a notably worse judgement than it had expected.

Senior leaders at Longhill High School in Rottingdean claimed last week that their inspection report was illogical” and “irrational”. They also allege that the inspection was inaccurate, inconsistent and not carried out in the appropriate manner.

A previous inspection had judged the school as “good with outstanding features”, but following the most recent visit, during the latter part of October, the school leaders were surprised to be told that the school had been judged as “requiring improvement”.

The school made a formal complaint to Ofsted claiming serious procedural shortcomings and demanded that a different team be sent in to carry out a new inspection.

Headteacher Haydn Stride said the inspection had come on the back of the school’s best ever results and followed years of increasing progress.

“Every recommendation and target from our last inspection report has been met or exceeded and we have had record results,” he told the Brighton Argus.

“Our attendance and our behaviour have both improved since we were rated as good.

“Our maths results are higher than the national average, our English results are on the national average and our science results are much higher than national average. And this is from a school whose in-take has a higher number of Pupil Premium students than the national average. To tell us after these improvements that we are no longer good is unacceptable. Parents should be angry the hard work and dedication of students and staff has been tarnished in this manner.”

Mr Stride added that during the visit the inspectors made positive comments about the school giving him no cause to doubt that they would receive at least another “good” rating.

In a letter to parents, posted on the school’s website, Mr Stride added: “I am very unhappy with the judgement, which contradicts the views shared with us by the inspection team during the course of their visit. I have lodged an appeal and await the outcome.

“I have met with staff and students this morning to emphasise that throughout the inspection, Ofsted praised our students, their attitude and behaviour. I intend to remain determined in my focus to allow all at Longhill to be the best they can be.”

Martin Andrews, the chair of governors, said there were contradictions in the report’s findings and added: “This irrational and illogical report could have a devastating effect on the morale of staff and students.”

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “A complaint has been received about this inspection and it is being looked into carefully.”


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