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Schools 'trick Ofsted inspectors'

Schools are tricking Ofsted by using a range of underhand tactics to pass their inspections, it has been claimed.

Disruptive pupils being paid to truant, weak teachers being told to stay off sick and schools bringing in experienced teachers from other establishments are just some of the allegations made on the Times Educational Supplement (TES) online forum.

Ofsted has confirmed there were 38 complaints about "a school's conduct or activities" during inspections carried out between April and November last year.

One post from a teacher on the TES forum describes how his last school "sent 2 coachloads of disruptive pupils to Alton Towers during the 2 days of Ofsted".

Another said that her colleague at a school that was judged "outstanding" was sent to a struggling inner city school to teach while inspectors were present and had to pretend that she always worked there. And another poster wrote about how they heard the most badly behaved children at their school had each been paid up to £100 not to attend while Ofsted was there.

Last year Education Secretary Michael Gove suggested that Ofsted was not seeing the full picture during inspections.

He said he had been told by teachers that "weak teachers are invited to stay at home, we make sure disruptive pupils don't come in, and the best teachers are on corridor duty. We put on our best face for inspections".

Ofsted national director Sue Gregory said that schools only have two days' notice before their inspections so have little time to make changes.

She added: "In over 5,500 school inspections conducted by professional and highly trained inspectors last year there have been only a handful of issues raised with us about possible misrepresentation of the school's position, all of which were looked into.

"While we do not take suggestions of wrongdoing lightly, it would be a disservice to all those schools who strive to do the best for their pupils to suggest that there is some sort of wide-scale problem, based on anonymous and unsubstantiated claims."


From Belfast Telegraph