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Update: Norfolk academy Ofsted tip off probe says schools were not given advance notice - but investigation hampered by missing emails

PUBLISHED: 13:04 27 January 2015 | UPDATED: 16:58 27 January 2015

Dame Rachel de Souza, when she was principal of Ormiston Victory Academy.

Dame Rachel de Souza, when she was principal of Ormiston Victory Academy.

Archant © 2010; 01603 772434

An independent probe into allegations three Norfolk academies received advance notice of Ofsted inspection dates has said that “on the balance of probabilities” no-one at the schools was unfairly tipped off.

Dame Rachel De Souza, left, at the official opening ceremony of Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, with Bill Holledge, the then headteacher, Dr Liz Sidwell, schools commissioner, and Theodoe Agnew, academy sponsor.  Picture: James BassDame Rachel De Souza, left, at the official opening ceremony of Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, with Bill Holledge, the then headteacher, Dr Liz Sidwell, schools commissioner, and Theodoe Agnew, academy sponsor. Picture: James Bass

The findings of lawyer Julian Gizzi contradicted claims published in front-page stories in the Observer newspaper in August and October.

Mr Gizzi had been asked to review an earlier internal investigation carried out by Sir Robin Bosher, Ofsted’s director of quality and training, which came to the same conclusion.

In the case of each school - which were all connected to Dame Rachel de Souza, and two of which are sponsored by her Inspiration Trust - the report said the evidence “does not demonstrate, on the balance of probabilities”, they were given any more than the requisite half day’s notice.

However, Mr Gizzi said his investigation had been “hampered” by emails that were either inaccessible or had been deleted, and minutes of meetings that had gone missing.

Adrian Ball, executive principal of Thetford Academy, with Dame Rachel de Souza.Adrian Ball, executive principal of Thetford Academy, with Dame Rachel de Souza.

He also said he had not been able to contact three key witnesses, including Dame Rachel’s former PA and the former headteacher of one of the schools.

The Inspiration Trust said the report confirmed that it and Dame Rachel were “innocent of these false allegations”, and called for The Observer to retract the claims and apologise.

Read the full report here

Inspiration Trust calls for newspaper to retract allegations

In a statement, the Inspiration Trust said it and Dame Rachel have written to The Observer asking it to withdraw the allegations, which are the subject of a legal dispute.

Inspiration Trust Chairman Theodore Agnew said: “These conclusions are excellent news and confirm what we have said from the start. There were no tip-offs and both the Inspiration Trust and Rachel de Souza are innocent of these false accusations.

“The Inspiration Trust is a small organisation founded by people dedicated to bringing the best possible education to children in Norfolk. We are simply unused to dealing with the preoccupations of the London-based media and we are unclear why our efforts and the genuine achievement of our staff warranted such harassment and inaccurate reporting.

“The Observer rightly has a reputation as a crusading newspaper, eager to expose wrongdoing elsewhere. We very much hope its editor John Mulholland will now do the right thing, accept the Observer has made a serious mistake and issue a retraction and apology for wasting so much time and causing unjustified distress to so many good people in Norfolk.”

Inspiration Trust CEO Dame Rachel de Souza said: “I welcome Julian Gizzi’s exceptionally thorough report and its conclusions. We have always maintained that these were false allegations and we cooperated fully with Mr Gizzi and Sir Robin to prove that to be the case.

“Our schools have worked incredibly hard to improve results in their Ofsted inspections and I am pleased that this report means that there is nothing to undermine those excellent outcomes.

“I would like to thank all those, especially staff, parents and pupils at Inspiration Trust schools who have been so supportive.

“I do hope we can all put this issue behind us so we can all redouble our focus on the important matters at hand: driving up educational achievement in our schools and giving the children of Norfolk the best start in life.”

Mr Gizzi’s report said Sir Robin Bosher had carried out his original investigation “with an open mind, that he acted with fairness and integrity and that his overall approach was methodical and diligent.”

His conclusion was that Sir Robin’s investigation “was, overall, appropriate” and the conclusions he reached “were reasonable.”

Missing emails and minutes

In his report, Mr Gizzi wrote he had been “hampered in my search for information, and interviewees had in turn been hampered in their ability to engage with my questions, by an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances”.

He continued: “The Ormiston Victory Academy server, containing all the emails from the relevant period, was replaced when the academy moved into their new premises in November 2013. I understand that the server is currently disconnected and so the emails are inaccessible.

“Furthermore, I was informed that the minutes of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) meetings for May 2013 are missing from both the paper and electronic files held by the academy.

“Finally, I was told that all the emails contained on Dame Rachel’s Inspiration Trust email account, dating from March 2013 onwards, were irrevocably deleted by accident in September 2014.”

He said he had received “acceptable explanations” about the Victory server and Inspiration emails, but “the whereabouts of any May 2013 SLT meeting minutes remains unclear”.

Preparations for Victory Academy’s inspection

The report reveals a series of emails between staff at Victory Academy in the two weeks before its May 2013 inspection, including the existence of an ‘Ofsted 100 point plan’.

The report said the plan “sets out a long list of actions and tips for teachers to enable them to be prepared for the Ofsted inspection, and a process to be followed during the inspection”.

A reference to “the visit next week” was emphasised.

However, Mr Gizzi wrote: “The documents that have been provided to me support the conclusion that the school expended considerable energy preparing for Ofsted, on an ongoing basis. I have not attached any weight to the reference in the 29 April 2013 version of the ‘Ofsted 100 point plan’ to ‘the visit next week’, as I am satisfied that reference was a relic from previous iterations of the document.”

He added: “Overall, interviewees have cogently and consistently explained (to me and to Sir Robin) the reasons for their confidence about the likely dates of the inspection, and I have not seen evidence that demonstrates on the balance of probabilities that it derived from advance notice, rather than from a process of deduction and calculated guesswork.”

‘Troubling email’

Mr Gizzi said he was concerned by an email Dame Rachel sent three weeks and two days before the inspection, saying “Only three weeks or so till Ofsted due at Victory too!”.

He wrote: “Having considered it carefully, I do find this email troubling. On its own, however, I do not consider that it demonstrates on the balance of probabilities that anyone at Ormiston Victory Academy knew the precise dates of the impending inspection at the time that it was sent. It is one email amongst many pieces of evidence that I have seen and heard.”

Supply teachers on inspection day

The Observer alleged that at least two teachers were asked to teach lessons at Victory Academy during its Ofsted inspection, despite having never taught there before.

Regarding one, Sarah Mintey, who replaced a supply teacher who was sick on the date of the inspection, Mr Gizzi wrote: “Having considered the allegation in the light of the other evidence available to me, on the balance of probabilities I have concluded that Ms Mintey was not given prior notice of the inspection date.”

Mr Gizzi said he was unable to speak to Mark Evans, believed to be the other teacher, who was at the time the principal designate of the Inspiration Trust’s Sir Isaac Newton Sixth Form, and working from an office at Victory Academy.

He wrote: “I conclude that Dr Evans was asked to teach a lesson during the inspection without ever having done so at Ormiston Victory Academy before. However I have not seen evidence to suggest that this was prompted or facilitated by the school having notice of the inspection before noon on Monday 13 May 2013.”

Great Yarmouth Primary Academy

The Observer alleged in August that Dame Rachel “received warning in early April that an inspection of Great Yarmouth Primary Academy would occur in the first few weeks of May”.

The inspection took place on May 13-14, 2014.

In October, the newspaper wrote that “Bill Holledge, the then Principal of Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, ‘felt confident enough in early May of his knowledge of a likely inspection date to turn down an offer from the prime minister to attend a function at Downing Street on 12 May’.”

Mr Gizzi’s report quotes an email Mr Hollege sent Dame Rachel on May 2 as stating: “Nice to be asked but this is the Monday of test week – so not great both in terms of likely Ofsted (could well be that Monday night I need to be at school to oversee prep for inspection Tues/Wed) and also in terms of being on hand Mon PM to support with test admin.”

Mr Gizzi said he had been unable to talk to Mr Holledge during his investigation.

He wrote: “Whilst I agree that the language used in the 2 May email does not convey a sense that Mr Holledge knew for certain when the inspection would take place, it is notable that he does in fact precisely identify the dates that the inspection ultimately took place.”

The newspaper also quoted an email from Dame Rachel to her PA requesting that no more appointments be made for 14 and 15 May 2014 as she was “expecting a late notice very important event on or around those days”.

She told Mr Gizzi this referred to a “possible family trip abroad or other form of celebration for her son’s birthday”, likely to be organised at late notice, and she did not think the inspectors would come during that week because of Key Stage 2 exams taking place then.

Mr Gizzi wrote this was “difficult to reconcile with some of the evidence I have seen”, and added: “I would also observe that I was surprised to hear that Dame Rachel was confident about taking time off at that point, given that Great Yarmouth Primary Academy was on high alert as it was expecting an inspection that term.”

However, he added that she said her involvement in inspections as chief executive of the Inspiration Trust was “more limited” than in her previous role as principal of Victory Academy.

He concluded: “Whilst I find the emails of 27 April, 2 May and 12 May troubling, I do not consider that, when taken together with the other evidence I have seen and heard, they demonstrate, on the balance of probabilities, that anyone at or connected with Great Yarmouth Primary Academy knew the precise dates of the upcoming inspection at the time that they were sent.”


Thetford Academy

The Observer claimed Thetford Academy had at least two weeks notice that its inspection was directly impending.

However, Mr Gizzi wrote: “None of the interview notes made by Sir Robin, or any of the interviewees I spoke to, corroborates this allegation. On the contrary, Mr Ball, principal of The Thetford Academy, told Sir Robin that he was due to move house on 1 July 2014 – the first day of the inspection – and do a lot of the removals himself, and so had to make alternative arrangements very short notice when The Thetford Academy received notice of the inspection.”

An earlier article in The Guardian said sources close to the Inspiration Trust had told the newspaper the correct inspection dates of Thetford Academy on June 28 - ahead of the school’s formal notification on June 30.

Mr Gizzi wrote: “Although this allegation is troubling, I have not seen any written evidence that corroborates it and none of the interview notes made by Sir Robin, or any of the interviewees I spoke to, corroborates it.”

Chief inspector responds to report

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw said: “The claims that were made about certain Norfolk schools being given advance notice of Ofsted inspection dates were very serious and damaging. I am, therefore, pleased that the overall findings in our original enquiry are supported by the conclusions reached by the independent and impartial review. I am also pleased that Mr Gizzi has recognised that Sir Robin’s original investigation was professional, substantial and rigorous.

“What today’s review does lay bare is the extent to which some Norfolk schools were on such a high degree of ‘Ofsted readiness’ for weeks and even months before the inspection actually took place.

“It’s very important that schools maintain a sense of proportion when preparing for an Ofsted inspection. In my experience, the best schools devote their energies to getting things right for their pupils, not for inspectors.

“Leaders should be focusing on making sure there is good teaching, robust assessment and a positive and respectful learning culture at their school. If they are attending well to these things then an Ofsted inspection will usually take care of itself.”

Background to the allegations

The allegations centered on three schools connected to Dame Rachel de Souza: Ormiston Victory Academy in Costessey, where she was principal until summer 2013, and Thetford Academy and Great Yarmouth Primary Academy, both of which are sponsored by the Inspiration Trust, which Dame Rachel now leads.

Allegations were first published on the front page of The Observer newspaper in August.

The Inspiration Trust denied the allegations, and Ormiston Academies Trust, which sponsors Victory Academy, said none of its schools received illicit advance notice.

Ofsted chief inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw ordered an internal investigation of the allegations, to be carried out by Sir Robin Bosher, the organisation’s director of quality and training.

In September, Sir Robin’s review found “no evidence to substantiate the allegations”, but did find that Dame Rachel, a seconded Ofsted inspector, had mistakenly been emailed the date of Great Yarmouth Primary Academy’s inspection.

It said the date of that inspection was then changed, and a later re-inspection in September, carried out without any notice, confirmed the school’s ‘good’ rating.

In October, The Observer published renewed allegations, based on leaked emails sent by Dame Rachel, prompting Sir Michael to announce today’s independent review of Sir Robin’s original investigation.

Julian Gizzi, a lawyer at DAC Beachcroft whose specialisms include education, was appointed to carry out the review in November, and was initially expected to report back by Christmas.

85 comments

  • sherrywillworth

    Friday, January 30, 2015

  • Ok ok I fess up, 'twas me the odd looking caretaker from scooby doo. And I woulda gotten away with it if it wasn't for you pesky kids! On a serious note though, I love the disco tech you youngsters talk off, when's good for you? Do you like piña coladas and get caught in the rain by chance also!?!?!? As for rattled!?? What?? HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH Yeah ok whatever you reckon twinkle cheeks x

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

  • Ok ok I fess up, 'twas me the odd looking caretaker from scooby doo. And I woulda gotten away with it if it wasn't for you pesky kids! On a serious note though, I love the disco tech you youngsters talk off, when's good for you? Do you like piña coladas and get caught in the rain by chance also!?!?!? As for rattled!??

    image

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

  • I'm trying to figure out what Mr Baxter has to be rattled about? Come on Baxter, fess up, you know you have the hidden emails stashed down your sofa. If only you would come forward and present the case, then the world would be rid of the evil entity known as Ofsted. I can sense some kind of mutual attraction, like a love developing between you two. Maybe you can meet for coctails at the local disco?

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

  • Bitter. So so bitter.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

  • How sweet.....but obviously very rattled!!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

  • Insults? and what exactle is Bless in reply supposed to mean SW? It's a little bit trying to belittle Monkey nut so dont take the moral high ground fella. I see that you choose not to let your kids attend an academy school. So why exactly are you here then, telling us what you know (and I use the phrase loosely because you have absolutely no evidence but live in conspiracy lane) but anyway why are you here then? are you trying to save all of us from them? My child (and after all thats the important thing in all this) absolutely loves the new style of tte academy he attends, and I would not dream of taking him away from his friends or the extra classes that he wants to do. Well done you wanted to take your kids out, its all about freedom of speech and choice, you've exercised that. But going onto me and telling me I should do that also (thats the only reason I camn assume your here, either that or a teacher scared, anyway it will have no effect on me) because I, my friend also have that choice and you going on is basically just preaching. Basically on here if we dont aggree with you then we're academy lovers, good theory which gives you the right to just ignore a counter arguement. I'm not a lover, and have asked you to validate any statement you've made, to which we get a reply of that we are frfeinds of academies blogging for them. But when asked this you have no reply but sarcasm (BLESS!) so dont get upset if I'm then sarcastic back. Much love x

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

  • Insults my friend get u nowhere. Talk to teachers, parents, head teachers, children.....invariably u get the same answer that Ofsted is a joke and politics and cronyism is at work here so the huge majority are wrong and the few IT lovers on here are right. Time will tell.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Thursday, January 29, 2015

  • And once again the sound of silence to any logical question. You have no interest in having a debate, just conspiray, I tried debating many a year ago, so at this time I will bid you (with a tear in my eye) a fond farewell. See you on the next comment thread to an OFSTED story. My name will be GOBBLEGOBBLE, just so you know! or thats right, it's you lot that feel the need to hide behind a username. I hope the operation to re-atach your balls goes well x

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • This is what happened....The emails got deleted when the school cat whilst doing the foxtrot on the school computer, hacked into the file containing the minutes of the Senior Leadership Team (SLT) meetings for May 2013, and on the very last step, its little paw just clipped the delete button. The emails are a different story. These were kept securely in the school computer, and password protected. Unfortunately, the emails were hacked and deleted by malware accidently downloaded by Dame Rachel de Souza when she was browsing for holiday outfits for her well deserved holiday during school term time. These are the facts, so everyone can now stop arguing.

    Report this comment

    Rhombus

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • And again the sound of silence to any question asked!! Nothing!!! You people are just as guilty if you keep silent, so don't come out to be applauded in years to come, YOU ARE PART OF THE PROBLEM. See you on the next article that turns up here. Much love x

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Hardly my fault you don't understand the wider implications this could have oldschool. I wont lose any sleep over it, but those who could have helped but didn't, should be taking a real long hard look at themselves.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Every school child? Inspiration Trust have grown. MonkeyNuts, you've just proven that you're only here on the wind up. I won't bother responding to your nonsense anymore. Good luck in your mission.

    Report this comment

    OldSchool

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • "WE ALL KNOW WHATS GOING ON HERE" - ok Mr Shouty. Its quite obvious that not everyone knows what's going on, the fact the Arcan't have gone back on their headline today from yesterday smacks of "fingers burnt". As far as this case is concerned its been proven beyond all reasonable doubt that no wrong doing occurred. Those who willingly withheld information who could have made a difference should be hanging their head in shame knowing they have contributed to potentially ruining the life of every school Childs education in Norfolk. Hope you're proud.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Bless?! thats your comment back? Brilliant, what an absolute gem of a put down. you really should be on channel 4 with wit and humour being so cutting edge!

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • HAHAHAH dont make me laugh, Im not for the academy's and if you actually listened then you'd see that.I'm just asking for genuine evidence instead of hear say and rumours. But you are no better, you all come on here and spout the usual garbage too so why cant I challenge you. You just dont like a debate, instead you say "oh you'll see, in time" yeah whatever, you go on living in your little conspiracy bubble. FACT is you have nothing, and telling us in years to come just makes you part of the problem, cause in effect you're letting it continue, well done peeps, you take the moral high ground, but your just scared. Grow a pair, I use my own name, you should, BUT dont make out there's so many people on here anti trust, I could log in under another username within minutes, as I have done before, but honestly mate I'll put my name to my commnets. I've had onversations on here with the same people under 6 diferent usernames just to make out all the support your hate mob have is justified. What do you actually think will change by you telling me this? Zilch, thats what. THE ONLY PEOPLE ON HERE IS US, PROVE YOUR GOSSIP. Im not here against or for the academies, I'm just against you lot not having any proof, simples! "ah you'll see" and "we need a police investigation" are just ridiculous statements, and a complete waste of police time, as they have so much more better things to look into. Just imagine you'll call them and ask them to look into your house being broken into, and the reply being " sorry sir, we are busy this week, Looking into lost E-mails from OFSTED"! Just saying! Anyway a complete rebuff and hilarious comment will be posted in complete ignorance of anytthing I've just said by the OFSTED BBQ planners to this. So I will say to whoever it is from whatever username you wanna call yourself to justify you saying how much support you have. In reply to this I say "Blimey, what a wonderous retaught, well done!" I'm now of to buy a new thong.

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Bless...........!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Maths not your strong point hey sportswagon?

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Soooo many anti-rants on here.....and rightly so yet the trust has not even got the support to have more than the usual 2 suspects blogging in their support. WE ALL KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON HERE. The time will come when this shambles is exposed and dissolved.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Wednesday, January 28, 2015

  • Well done people "in the know" you sold yours and everybody's child's future because you scared! and your beliefs came second to a buck! "Bravo!" But you go on hiding behind your user names, I'll have respect for you if it means anything? By the way, my respect will get you a free banana down Burger King this Saturday, but that's all! Just tell them bob sent you! Well said monkey nuts, you're all gutless, and wanting a police investigation and telling people where to investigate and what to look for? Do it yaself, sell ya story, hint, go to the observer, they love an ofsted BBQ. have the money from shopping them evil ofsted'ers. Surely that'll make up for loss in income, should you lose your reaching jobs. That's it isn't it, are you afraid of what you'll be assessed as?

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • It stinks yes. There are lots of holes in the evidence for a slippery character to slide through yes. But the Ofsted irregularities (or apparent lack of) are a distraction from what the Inspiration Trust is really up to. They artificially inflate the grades at their schools by removing children who under-perform to other (non IT) schools, focus on the kids who are on the CD grade boundary while leaving the ones who are capable to get an A or B to flounder down to a C just to look good on the league tables. Staff are worked to death in order to produce 'data' or set false targets to overwhelm inspectors and dupe us parents into believing the IT is doing a good job. It's about spin, and making RDS look good, not about actually improving education in these schools. Children are threatened with being removed from the school if they don't tow the line during inspections, or complain It's about money and power - they care not one jot about our children.

    Report this comment

    JRedding

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • You have to wonder who the Villain of this debacle really is. Those that claim to have information withheld it, so you have to wonder, do they really care about the children or are they just out for themselves? I sure I would have done everything I could to make sure the truth came out, I wouldn't be whinging on here. You had the chance to do something but chose to do nothing. Now the facts have been presented all of a sudden you have something to say. Trolling of the worse variety.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • And to think, those with evidence to back up the claim of wrong doing sat there idly, doing nothing, unless you count whinging on a public forum. I mean, these people had the chance to protect our children's future but chose not to to protect their own interests. Who's the REAL pantomime villains here? You have to question their integrity in this whole affair too. If a criminal proceeding were to happen, could they be up in court of withholding information that could lead to prosecution?

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • The Open has been an Academy since 2008 and four years 2011-12 later they still need an extra £230,000. Surely there should be an investigation into the miss-management of the funding and why isn’t the Principal being held to account. After six to seven years of being an academy they are still on “requires improvement” in terms of Ofsted and well below the national and Norfolk average for exam results. So 12 months after this re-organization and the extra £230,000 the school got 34% A*-C, was this re-organization really necessary or worthwhile. I think this situation is scandalous, there should be a full investigation into the use of funding at this establishment and if there is any form of miss-management the Principal should held to account.

    Report this comment

    GreyMan

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • One of the most unconvincing interviews I have ever listened too, RDS trying to justify herself, what an absolute disgrace. These people are in charge of our children’s education.

    Report this comment

    GreyMan

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Paul Baxter

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • As one of Camerons cronies you expect her to get away with it

    Report this comment

    john131

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Ok ok, now here's a plan, what about, all the people in the red corner (yes you with the wooden stakes a Bunsen burner ready for the ofsted BBQ!) anyway you with the "inside knowledge, and contacts!" Save up all you're evidence throughout the years and when you feel you can (retirement or maybe a drunken night when you accidentally end that email!) and you feel you can talk (which is a little laughable as time and time again it's just us reading and commenting here!) but anyway I digress, please tell us at that point and show the world how right you were all along, proving how naive we were. By this point we might actually care, and join you in a crusade to rid the world, not of poverty or eliminating child cruelty but yes, the true evil, OFSTED!! (Que eastenders end credits!! DOM DOM DOM DOM DOM D D D DADA) till that point I reckon it's a case of speak up or shut up. Just ny view, anyway who's next up for the soapbox!? Just off to turn the oven off, I don't know about you but I dislike overcooked haddock!

    Report this comment

    Paul Baxter

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • “Finally, I was told that all the emails contained on Dame Rachel’s Inspiration Trust email account, dating from March 2013 onwards, were irrevocably deleted by accident in September 2014.” You couldn't write it could you? Oh hang on, you did. It's either cows, pigs or sheep. Pretty amazing really. Investigator appointed by Ofsted too.

    Report this comment

    COVERFAN

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • She is so far up Cameron's a@#e is pathetic.

    Report this comment

    Tone the moan

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Monkeynuts the only thing you have to back up your argument is an investigation completed without all the evidence ( thank goodness these people don't sit in our courts ) plus the medias view. Ask the father who complained to ofsted way before the allegations came to light.

    Report this comment

    Diamondblack

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Hardly the triumphant vindication that Mcdesouza is claiming. "On the balance of probability" she saw no evil, said no evil, did no evil, in other words there was insufficient evidence either way, particularly after the IT crowd tried in vain by doing "everything in its power" to recover those crucial e-mails 'deleted in mysterious circumstances'. Not that anyone should be surprised. The whole academies system has become a get-rich-quick scheme for Conservative Party donors and their cronies, all at the expense of the taxpayer and ultimately the children they are failing, and getting away with it is the name of the game. LOL

    Report this comment

    Mr Cameron Isastrangertothetruth

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Monkeynuts they haven't been cleared but there isn't enough evidence to prove the Observer's case inspite of troubling evidence. However you look at this the 56 pages makes for very unsavoury reading for this head teacher and the whole trust. Who would want to be associated with something that stinks this badly and who can so easily lose vital evidence. It is like something from a 'mob' intimidated crime novel.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Haha, oh Monkeynuts, what a lovely sheltered life you must live. Either that or you makes these comments purely on a wind-up. Read what is there. Look at all the obstacles put in the way of this investigation, and every single one was put there by the same people. Then look at the connections these people have. There was never going to be any other finding to this, so let's accept there is or was, or both, wrongdoing, and also accept that people in high places have far reaching powers.

    Report this comment

    OldSchool

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • A police investigation? Just what crime have they commited? They've been cleared not once but twice and still you want criminal proceedings? I think its time you took stock of what your argument actually is. Also, when you say that you don't have to prove yourself; when you present a statement such as "I know first hand", then readers are quite right to ask - show me the evidence of your claim. If you have only hearsay from your child without anything else, then that is all it is. Gossip. If you want to make a difference to teaching in Norfolk, then please, I urge you to submit your evidence for peer review. If not, no matter how much it pains you, this independent review shows that no wrong doing occurred. The lost emails are or little difference as they neither prove or disprove anything. This so called new evidence that you say you will come to light will be dismissed, there has been ample time to submit it, over 6 months in fact. Its over and the Observer has egg on its face.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • I suppose, with the revelations of the extra millions poured into these people's pockets, from the taxpayers purse, one could justify a police investigation. Be interesting if a proper investigation took place. Might also find an interesting twist if or when there's a change of government in May.

    Report this comment

    OldSchool

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • At the end of the day the investigation is incomplete as the vital evidence is not available. I don't need to prove my case as I lived it. However if these pieces of evidence are found and prove me wrong then I'll say I'm wrong. It won't happen though as the evidence has been misplaced for a reason. youd think they'd pay to retrieve the lost emails to prove they have nothing to hide.

    Report this comment

    Diamondblack

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • The Police should be called in to investigate this . They have experts available to find the missing E-Mails , . And they could find the three witnesses that couldn`t be traced ..... The investigation was weak in the extreme .

    Report this comment

    dragonfly

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Don't upset me, just fathoms me how many people are "in the know" yet no one cared enough about our children to do anything at all about it. They did nothing. So, it could well be that there was wrong doing, but not coming forward with evidence makes them part of the problem. They are partly to blame if this outcome is wrong.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • What's that unpleasant odour?

    Report this comment

    Twig Stevens

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Just one of 3 reports in today's EDP which demonstrate the failure of the academies programme. And listening to RDS on the radio constantly talking about "my schools" was just arrogant. They are OUR schools, Rach, publicly funded and treasured, definitely not belonging to some passing Dame.

    Report this comment

    Johnboy

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • I think she knew when the I spection was to be and it is laughable that those important emails went missing. How convenient. I wish people like Diamondblack (on here) had gone forward with their information. Too late now I guess.

    Report this comment

    samphirelover

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • There we go, most of us called it. Very carefully worded, lawyer speak. No point dragging up all the old stuff as it upsets the likes of Monkeynuts. Yes, you have a solid point that we should all be flocking forward with evidence, but as these constant cover ups show, it'd be worthless. I have heard this evening that this is far from over, and I am also led to believe there are still emails in circulation that might have put a different slant on things. People of Norfolk are not stupid, and they will read into this what was hidden behind the legal speak. Are we really expected to believe that an "outstanding" leadership could make so many basic errors with important documents??? But we must (for now) stop mentioning RDS in a bad light as this independent (feel free to check the solicitors links to Ofsted) enquiry said she is innocent........oh, no it didn't, it said it couldn't find the evidence.

    Report this comment

    OldSchool

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • What's worrying is despite evidence from an independent enquiry and the resulting decision, we still have adults in denial. Lots being made of the these missing emails, which obviously means all of them were of extreme importance, it of cause instantly means that there is a cover up.....dear oh dear.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • ...and RDS lovers I would read the report and see just how worrying it is that the evidence isn't quite strong enough to find in the Observer's favour but is certainly not a picture of a decent, principled head teacher but one that suggests she just managed to get away with it. Is this what you want for our schools and children?

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Easy to move on but deplorable that unscrupulous dealings and such errant loss of vital data seems typical of an Ofsted outstanding leadership team: typical I guess.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Kelly1974 - my thoughts entirely. How many months now has this paper written about the "wrong doings" by the Trust and how many of these people with Evidence have come forward? You can count how many on less than one hand. If i was RDS i would too be asking for a written apology from the EDP as all they have done is wasted column spaces on non starter tell tale stories without having the material to back it up.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • But your claims have been found as untrue as per the above? They may have been told which week to behave, all schools have a reasonable idea as to when the inspections take place, i have first hand experience of this from my time working with Ofsted and various other educational establishments. We often used to tell the pupils we are expecting them in sometime soon, so in that theory, i too would have been reported on and misrepresented but ultimately cleared of any wrong doing.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • It seems we have a small number of people who have a total dislike of Dame De Souza and no matter how many investigations we have, they will never be satisfied. Just get over it. She has done wonders for education in the county and she should be applauded for her efforts, not vilified. Diamondblack should just call it a day. We are all getting a bit bored of it all and now is the time to move on.

    Report this comment

    BG

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • I'm with MonekyNuts - there is no evidence. Hearsay, rumour and gossip - yes, plenty. It's funny how all these people who claim to know and have evidence always come forward after the event - why did they not make contact with both of the review teams? Has anybody thought that Victory or Ormiston may have destroyed the SLT minutes or deleted RDS emails once she left?

    Report this comment

    Kelly1974

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • My point is that the children should be expected to behave everyday, so when they were told what day to be 'even better behaved' and threatened with repercussions for slating the school that proves they knew in advance, the children knew the day, we all did. So I'm afraid ousted got it wrong yet again. Oh what an intelligent lot they are

    Report this comment

    Diamondblack

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • At the end of the day, sense and justice has prevailed. And i hope Dame Souza will be sitting back in her expensive chair, sipping tea from her expensive tea set, having a well earned break. She deserves it. LONG LIVE OFSTED!

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Missing e-mails = Admission of guilt = Immediate sacking. Or at least it should do.

    Report this comment

    "V"

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Exactly MonkeyNuts. And just like Father Christmas the children had a fairly precise idea of when they were going to arrive.

    Report this comment

    TheTruth

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Key word there is "evidence". All you've basically said is that the kids were to behave whilst the inspectors were in so they didnt create the wrong impression or have Ofsted mark them down for bad behaviour. Whats the issue with that? Common sense that really. Did you ever say to your kids, behave or Father Christmas wont come? Course you did.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Wow...the only set of minutes missing are the crucial ones - surprise, surprise, not to mention the emails. This comes a day after we hear the school received £1.235 million over 2 years, a massive boost to their budget, direct from her friend Gove at the DFE. The sun obviously shone for Dame Rachel who leads a charmed life, though with her reputation tarnished after the school conveniently lost its records that might have proved her prior knowledge.

    Report this comment

    pablo

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Not sure which bit of my post was deemed to be bad, but here it is again and if you don't post it, you are not allowing free speach. This was always going end with “no wrong doing found” we all knew that, but to come up with the limp excuse of “oh we seem to have lost the emails” is a bit poor. This was last used by President Putin when Russia where asked to provide evidence to the FIFA enquiry. Establishment 1 Public 0

    Report this comment

    parkeg1

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • My children attended the school. They were told beforehand and told that they would be found out and punished if they said anything bad about the school. Surely a thorough investigation would include interviewing all, rather than just those trying to protect their jobs. The lies and excuses just continue. The only time the students saw de Souza was when the press were there

    Report this comment

    Diamondblack

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Operation Yew Tree.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • I had loads of evidence but my server was done and it got deleted.

    Report this comment

    TheTruth

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Diamondblack, would you care to share? There seems to be many many people with "first hand experience" yet none seem to want to share for fear of losing their golden handshake?

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • This was always going end with “no wrong doing found” we all knew that, but to come up with the limp excuse of “oh we seem to have lost the emails” is a bit poor. This was last used by President Putin when Russia where asked to provide evidence to the FIFA enquiry. Establishment 1 Public 0 There will be no penalty shoot out or extra time.

    Report this comment

    parkeg1

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Monkey de Nuts?

    Report this comment

    LR Series 2A

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • I'm glad you have such confidence monkeynuts. From first hand experience I know they lied, as do many others. We weren't consulted in the investigation as we are just mere pawns in their silly games

    Report this comment

    Diamondblack

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Agreed Monkeynuts since what goes round comes round.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Legally whats being said is that, once again and another waste of tax payers money, is that an independent report has shown conclusively that no wrong doing has taken place. Thats the end of it. So, like the now Frozen classic - Let it Go, Let it Go.....

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Apologies for so many comments but EDP blocking my full response.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Read carefully and absorb what is legally being said here....scary!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • ↓↓↓↓ Standard Comments ↓↓↓↓

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Taking time off during Sats wk...how convenient.

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • .....but sad indictment of endemic of all that is wrong!!!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Hilarious!!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Of course they weren't tipped off!! Just like the children weren't told in assembly about it and were warned not to say anything bad to inspectors! Wonderful way to teach the future generation

    Report this comment

    Diamondblack

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • What's all the fuss about, I work for a well known charity supporting people with a disability, for the last month we've been getting our paperwork in order after being informed we got a CQC inspection This coming March

    Report this comment

    Cromer cranky

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Yet another cover up. Not doubt incentives were involved.These people take the general public for idiots!

    Report this comment

    beverley

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • I would not be surprised if the "accidentally" deleted emails were truly irrecoverable because it is highly probable that whoever did it made sure to "accidentally" run a drive wiping program straight after.

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • by an unfortunate coincidence of circumstances. Perhaps the word "unfortunate" should be replaced with "convenient" !!!!

    Report this comment

    Daveyboy

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • And thats the end of that. Nothing we didnt already know, just some "moles" with a grudge against OFSTED and the Inspiration Trust. I can't wait to read the standard responses from usual moaners and groaners who will now be licking their wounds.

    Report this comment

    MonkeyNuts

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Drop that server off in the bedroom of an average 15 year old geek and I bet he would get the emails retrieved in under an hour and all for the price of a bag of cheese puffs and the latest copy of Warcraft

    Report this comment

    Lucioperca

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Do these people think that Norfolk people are completely stupid. If this evidence was submitted in a court of law it would be thrown out. As a lawyer J Gizzi has reported in a guarded lawyer's way and you have to ask is this unequivocal proof that all is OK? I think not!

    Report this comment

    Sportswagon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • LR - they couldn't afford a couple of grand to recover the emails as they'd spent it all at B&Q - on gallons of whitewash.

    Report this comment

    Only Me

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • Laughable. SLT minutes missing, emails deleted, server replaced. Laughable.

    Report this comment

    Jon

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • So essentially "overall" any evidence that could have confirmed the allegation has either been "accidentally" deleted or is "inaccessible" on an old email server and. a couple of thousand pounds for an expert to recover the email forensically wasn't judged to be necessary - overall. I think I will form my own conclusion on the "balance of probabilities" had all the significant evidence not gone conveniently AWOL!

    Report this comment

    LR Series 2A

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • If GCHQ were investigating this, do you think their experts would be content with 'the server was inaccessible'? How convenient. RDS, whether culpable or not, now has a damaged reputation and should therefore go.

    Report this comment

    One Horse Town

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

  • "irrevocably deleted by accident" - pull the other one!

    Report this comment

    Cyril the Canary

    Tuesday, January 27, 2015

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