Royston school’s appeal against Ofsted inspection upheld

08:36 06 March 2014

Dr Michael Firth (left), headteacher, with Meridian sixth form pupils Alice Atkins, Alec Fynn, Chloe Smith and Daniel Gee, and the school

Dr Michael Firth (left), headteacher, with Meridian sixth form pupils Alice Atkins, Alec Fynn, Chloe Smith and Daniel Gee, and the school's chair of governors Gary Glover

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A headteacher says he feels “vindicated” after winning an appeal against his school’s latest Ofsted inspection.

The Meridian School in Royston was given a “requires improvement” rating when Ofsted inspectors visited in October. The school appealed the decision on the grounds that the inspector’s final verdict did not match the evidence provided, and following an independent 
investigation, its complaint has been upheld.

The school will now be re-inspected in the near future.

Headteacher Dr Michael Firth welcomed the investigator’s report, which agreed with the school’s view that the initial inspection had been poorly managed and administered.

Dr Firth said: “We feel a lot more confident now because clearly it knocked us back when we got the news in October.

“To be told that 86 per cent of teaching is good or outstanding and then to get a ‘requires improvement’ rating didn’t make sense. We didn’t feel the inspection had been conducted properly.”

The independent inspector’s report said that: “Ofsted inspectors’ communication of issues and emerging findings fell below the standard expected.

“The lead inspector accepts that he did not discuss specific details of lesson observations with you, including of those lessons where teaching was judged inadequate. He has asked me to pass on his apology for this.”

The school has now been allocated a senior officer from Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI), who will work with Meridian so that it can achieve ‘good’ status in the next two years.

He visited on February 11, and recommended an early re-inspection of the school to be carried out later this year.

“The HMI inspector said he would be confident about us being re-inspected now and obtaining ‘good’ status,” said Dr Firth.

“We have been so grateful for the support we have had from pupils, parents and our MP Oliver Heald. We felt we needed to appeal because we owed it to the people of Royston. Now we feel vindicated.”

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