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School launches legal proceedings after receiving 'inadequate' rating from Ofsted

A school in Trafford has issued a legal challenge to regulator Ofsted in a bid to overturn being rated as ‘inadequate’.

In a message to parents of the 559 pupils at St Antony’s Catholic College, headteacher Fiona Wright called this conclusion “nonsensical” and “highly flawed”.

Ofsted’s inspection report rated the school as inadequate for leadership and management and said the overall quality of education required improvement.

Its main criticism was that the school entered all pupils who left in 2019 and all current Year 11 students for a vocational qualification in sport science.

It described this course as “not in their educational best interest”, noting some pupils complained that having to study for this prevented them from choosing courses which better met their interests.

Ofsted said: “Pupils have had to take this vocational qualification irrespective of their ability or interests. This subject has no practical element.”

Inspectors also criticised the school for “systematically gaming its results, entering pupils for courses that are not in their educational best interest”.

In her message, Ms Wright said the ‘inadequate’ rating related solely to the dispute about the sports science qualification.

She told parents: “Our school did not change the day after three strangers [Ofsted inspectors] arrived with either a flawed framework, inappropriately applied it or both. The framework was four weeks old when we were inspected and, clearly, a travesty has occurred here and, from what I read elsewhere, in a number of other schools.

“My first request is that you read the report, ignoring if you can the nonsensical judgement on the first page. It says many positive things about our school.”

A spokesperson for Ofsted said: “We stand by the judgement.”

Mark Smulian