Talk

Advanced search

OFSTED conflict of interest

(19 Posts)
phlebasconsidered Tue 02-May-17 12:38:34

I have to be cagey about details here, but would people consider that a lead inspector who works for an academy trust which operates in and is expanding in the area has a conflict of interest when inspecting schools in that area? OFSTED were not helpful when I asked and I'm seeking a definitive answer. Their conflict of interest paperwork does not mention academy trusts.

The inspector in question is director of an academy trust.

ElizabethBennettismybestfriend Wed 03-May-17 17:01:22

OFSTED are not interested in any queries. In my school the first thing our inspector did was ro give us his card and tell us that he works as a consultant to turn around failing schools and that he could help us, that was before the inspection actually started. We complained, stating conflict of interest and got no where.

Rosieposy4 Wed 03-May-17 18:28:37

Massive conflict of interest imo, do you think ofqual would be interested if ofsted doesn't give a monkeys??

ElizabethBennettismybestfriend Wed 03-May-17 18:47:56

Too late now but it led to my school being taken over by 'big brother' up the road. Even the intervention of the HMI did not work.

phlebasconsidered Wed 03-May-17 20:17:49

It's a farce. I'm getting nowhere. The inspector in question has inspected other schools which mysteriously have ended up failing and being taken over. It was all on spurious safeguarding too. I am going to try OFQUAL. I'm so angry. My lovely school is now going to be swallowed up by The Borg.

OFSTED just pass my complaint around. Their conflict paperwork doesn't even mention academies.

I was wondering whether I should contact the anti-academies alliance, or if anyone knew of any other pressure groups? Of course, complaining too loudly now threatens my job. It's crap.

jellyfrizz Wed 03-May-17 20:23:32

The Guardian Education section or TES?

highinthesky Wed 03-May-17 20:28:42

Does OFSTED really not know where it's inspection staff work substantively?!

I was under the impression it co-ordinates the teams sent out to designated schools. It wouldn't know about conflicts of interest that exist though, and to be fair unless a MAT board member, the inspector in question wouldn't even know (there's no requirement for inspectors to have even reached the SLT pay scale: ofstedinspector-eoi.ofsted.gov.uk/Docs/Ofsted%20Inspector%20(OI)%20Specification.doc )

I think this is a fairly new conundrum for OFSTED to apply it's due diligence to.

phlebasconsidered Wed 03-May-17 21:48:00

It gets worse. The inspector in question, i find after a good fit tonight, used to work as a deputy with a head who is now lead in the academy. I find it very hard to believe they are not talking about the inspections or proposed inspections. I'm absolutely fuming. I'm thinking Guardian for sure.

phlebasconsidered Wed 03-May-17 21:48:36

A good search, not fit! Silly phone.

Waterlemon Wed 03-May-17 21:51:31

Your Union should be working on this for you.

OlennasWimple Wed 03-May-17 21:56:19

It's a spurious assumption to leap to the conclusion that the inspector must be discussing the inspection with his former head. Surely every professional is able to keep private information private.

You may, however, be right that an individual can be placed in a compromising position not of his / her making by being allocated a school to inspect that is too close to home

I'm not sure why Ofqual would be involved in this, but you could contact your local Regional Schools Commissioner, or the Ofsted bit of DfE directly to raise concerns if Ofsted really haven't responded to your enquiry. (You might need to exhaust the ofsted route first, though, before anyone else is able to take it as a complaint)

highinthesky Thu 04-May-17 01:19:34

Just re-read the OP. Are you sure the inspector is a MAT director? You might expect them to sit on the local governing body, but not the MAT.

"It was all on spurious safeguarding too." This tells me all I need to know. The safeguarding requirements are not spurious; they may appear to be administrative but need to be kept with good reason. This applies to many of the core competencies that need to be achieved by a school in a management capacity, that are not immediately obvious until something goes wrong. It's called governance for a reason.

The inspector is most certainly NOT discussing the inspections inappropriately with anyone, at any point in the process. They will be bound by a confidentiality agreement and any breach will have serious professional consequences. It's far more likely that teaching staff do their bit operationally and are shielded from the realities of the additional responsibilities of the SLT, including all the OFSTED standards that need to be met. Given the short notice that the inspector is given about exactly where it is they are going to be sent, I doubt there is much scope for opting out.

It wouldn't have killed OFSTED to have responded to you, but hey-ho. I know it's demoralising to have your school criticised by the regulator and apparently "taken over", but you need to tread very carefully here. If I was in the inspector's position, I'd be looking to take action against you for defamation of character.

phlebasconsidered Thu 04-May-17 06:03:22

I haven't said anything defamatory at all. I'm merely asking whether having an inspector in this position is professional. I don't think it is.

And yes I am sure that they have a lead role in the trust. It's all over their website. I thought that inspectors were not allowed to inspect local schools, and this one did. Without a doubt.

Whether my school deserved a ruling or not, inspectors should still not inspect locally or work for a trust that is local to a school. I'm not challenging our inspection, that's done and dusted, but surely this practice, regardless of how professional an inspector is, is not right? That's why ofsted have conflict guidelines to begin with. As previous posters have pointed out, it's sometimes necessary.

jellyfrizz Thu 04-May-17 09:00:36

The inspector is most certainly NOT discussing the inspections inappropriately with anyone, at any point in the process. They will be bound by a confidentiality agreement and any breach will have serious professional consequences.

Agree because professionals NEVER EVER break the law. Ever. No, they don't.

Just out of interest, I wonder which pays more? Being an OFSTED inspector or a lead role in a large and growing MAT?

jellyfrizz Thu 04-May-17 17:10:38

And those working for MATs DO NOT ever abuse their professional position to further their own gains. Oh no.

www.parliament.uk/documents/commons-committees/Education/Conflicts-of-interest-in-academies-report.pdf
(pg 29 onwards)

highinthesky Thu 04-May-17 22:00:57

So leave it to OFSTED to investigate whether there has been a breach then. Simples.

Rosieposy4 Thu 04-May-17 22:15:57

But the op said ofsted were not interested. I think this is very concerning personally.

RustyBear Thu 04-May-17 22:30:22

OFSTED's conflict of interest document refers to all providers that Ofsted inspects and regulates, including chains and groups which presumably includes Academy trusts

Conflicts in inspection activity which MUST be declared (including that of household members and close friends)
Last six years’ employment with all providers that Ofsted inspects and regulates, including chains and groups.
Any other work, professional contact, voluntary work or advisory work with a provider in the last six years.
All providers attended as an employee, service user or pupil/learner.
Previous job applications to providers inspected and/or regulated by Ofsted.

user1471504210 Fri 12-May-17 19:28:32

Interesting. You're either someone I know or sadly it's more common than you think. Clear conflict of interest. Complaint went nowhere. Sickening.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now