Parents of children at John Roan school in Greenwich set to take Ofsted to court 

BY CALUM FRASER

A group of South-east London parents are trying to take Ofsted to the High Court.

A crowdfunding campaign was launched on Thursday to challenge an Ofsted report that has put The John Roan school in Maze Hill Greenwich on the path to academisation.

Angry parents believe the “Inadequate” judgement is not fair and “does not describe a school that we recognise”.

One parent, who did not want to be named, said: “If academisation is forced through, the school is in danger of being cut adrift from the community.

“It’s been a huge part of the area for hundreds of years.

“We do not accept Ofsted’s findings and we will take them to the High Court if that’s what it takes.”

If a school is judged to be Inadequate the Secretary of State for Education, Damien Hinds, has the power to issue a Direct Academy Order (DAO), forcing the school to academise.

This takes the school out of the local authority’s control, to be run by a trust overseen by the Department for Education (DfE).

The crowdfunding page raised more than £650 in its first 24 hours live.

Parent Jason Holdway said: “We strongly disagree with the overall judgement and want the report withdrawn.

“We are demanding a re-inspection of our school within a timeframe that allows our local authority and headteacher to make the rapid improvement our school needs.

“We know that Ofsted has no appeals process and we wish to challenge the right of Ofsted to make a judgement that cannot be overturned or open to any external verification process.”

Strike action was called on Wednesday, June 20. Parents and teachers held a protest outside the school in the morning. The next strike is set to take place on Tuesday, June 26.

NEU divisional secretary Tim Woodcock said: “There are serious concerns that the evidence gathered during the Ofsted inspection process lacked objectivity, integrity, honesty and accountability, due to the use of leading questions in interviews with children which is not permissible.

“Therefore, the Ofsted judgement on The John Roan School is based on flawed information and conjecture.”

The John Roan was originally two grammar schools. The boys’ school was founded in 1677 and the girls’ school in 1877.

Both schools merged to become a co-ed comprehensive in 1983, run by the council.

A spokesman for Ofsted said: “All inspectors have to follow a code of conduct, including upholding the highest professional standards in their work and treat everyone they encounter during inspections fairly, with respect and integrity.

“Inspectors inspect schools objectively and impartially, and will gather evidence from a range of sources such as observing classroom teaching and learning, the behaviour of pupils around a school; assessing pupils’ progress and outcomes; and talking to senior leaders and teachers.  As a result all evaluations are based on clear and robust evidence.

“While we recognise the impact of an inadequate judgement, the report does highlight the positive impact of the new headteacher and a number of improvements the school is starting to make. However, despite these improvements, pupils are not yet getting the education they deserve.”

A DfE spokeswoman said: “Our focus is on ensuring that every child has a good or outstanding school place.

Where schools are failing, we believe that becoming an academy with the support of a strong sponsor is the best way to raise standards.

“Following the Ofsted Inadequate judgement at John Roan School, the Regional Schools Commissioner has been in close contact with leaders and governors, the local authority and the John Roan Foundation regarding the future sponsorship of the school.”

To see the crowdfunding page go to www.crowdjustice.com/case/stop-the-forced-academisation-thejohnroan/.

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