Complaint about Ofsted Inspection at Carlton Bolling College (submitted 1st Aug 2014)

Details of complaint

The conduct and questioning by inspectors, which left staff, students and governors upset and left nobody in any doubt that the team had come in with a prejudgment, irrespective of the facts on the ground. That the report is based on anonymous vexatious complaints not where the school really is which can be evidenced if you are willing to look for that evidence.

The inspectors were looking for answers that could fit their narrative as painted by anonymous voices who have used the non existent trojan horse plot to further their own agenda. There are numerous  false allegations and inaccuracies in the report which are difficult to challenge with evidence and contextualise since we do not know when they have alleged to have occurred and by whom.

What is further frustrating is that the inspectors have abused their authority and independence by making judgements to show there has been a decline since the last inspection, when clearly there have been numerous improvements since the last inspection in 2013 which was rated good. They have correctly identified that there has been some hostility in the governing body but have incorrectly assigned that to the majority of the GB, when it is in fact a minority and this has not affected decision making or strategy within the college. It would appear that ofsted have taken their lead from these hostile voices who would rather see the whole governing body be removed since they are unable to influence it democratically,

In terms of conduct – it would have been my expectation that ofsted would follow the ofsted framework and carry out an inspection of the school . the questions posed by inspectors were more inquisitorial, examples include

  • Allegations that governors were not protecting students from risks by not vetting which charities they can raise money for, in particular Interpal which they claimed that there were issues and  links to Syria. When the reality is that interpal is bona fide uk registered charity with no concerns or links to Syria – only in the neocon press and in particular Henry Jackson research fellow Rupert Sutton who quoted claims of previous links to terrorism which were proven to be false. Interestingly Michael Gove(ex secretary of state for Education), Ishtiaq Hussain(ex quilliam and lead investigator in DFE for trojan horse), Khalid Mehmood (MP perry Barr, very vocal on trojan horse plot), Rashid Zaman Ali (Ex quilliam worked in in Park View in 2013) – all with links to the Henry Jackson Society.  Furthermore the ofsted report incorrectly states that the head was not aware, when there is evidence contrary to this . Interpal is also on the circulation list for the local authority. Our students are encouraged to work with charities including Marie Curie etc
  • Students were asked repeatedly if they had been forced to wear Hijaab, when a student pointed out that if the inspector turned around they could see with their own eyes if that was true then all the girls behind her would be wearing a hijaab which they were clearly not. The inspector then proceeded to ask the same question four different ways – obviously looking for an answer that could be used to support their narrative..
  • I was asked if I wanted to make the school an Islamic school – the last time I looked this is not in the ofsted inspection framework, nor does the evidence support it – including the recent recruitment of a non muslim head.
  • The inspectors also asked that we had rejected a residential because it was mixed. I answered that all our trips were mixed and there was one residential where the take up by girls was low – my understanding was that consultations were carried out and a girl only residential resulted in better take up thereby increasing participation of girls in this particular residential. It is false to claim that the boys lost out since there would have still been a boys only residential.

Also we appear to have been criticised for meeting the needs of our children and in particular. Ramadan timetable adjustments and Friday 1/2 day – both within statutory regulations and both decision that were made 10 years ago prior to my arrival at the school and definitely meeting the needs of nearly 95% of students, both decision that previous inspections were not concerned about. The drive for Friday adjustment was in fact to improve attendance, which it did and this is also in place at a number of schools across Bradford including one that was inspected recently , yet was not referred to. To say that we are neglecting the growing minority of eastern european is clearly a false misrepresentation since we have

But the outcome of the inspection has had its intended impact, other schools will no longer meet the needs of the muslim children even if they constitute a majority, in order to avoid being put in special measures.

There were other comments and judgments and mis-information that have no place in an Ofsted report, this reflects very poorly on Ofsted inspectors to have included these there but the also provide a clue to their intention and lack of objectivity. There is no corroborated evidence to show that any of this has actually occurred and naturally there is no avenue to respond to it..

  • Shouting by chair – At a meeting with the governing body following the inspection all governors were perplexed as to where this had come from and agreed that this had not occurred.
  • The report indicates concerns between senior leaders  and governors – yet there have been no concerns – unless these are ex staff who have an axe to grind how can we evidence that what is is not true?
  • Staff are under pressure to narrow the curriculum – where? Since we have widened the curriculum since the last inspection in 2013
  • That only Islam is taught – again simply false I had to double check with my daughter who just finished her GCSE’s and all religions are taught, this can be further evidenced with the independent news audio recording from the BBC (later in doc)  – I can only think back to an incident in 2009 between David Ward the then Chair and the Previous head – where the Chair had misunderstood the proposed changes – who is the source of this rumour?
  • Governors have never pushed for narrowing of geography – I simply have no idea where this is coming from nor do any governors.
  • Occasional disruptive behaviour – yet the inspectors observed no bad behaviour in their two days – it is universally accepted that behaviour is the best it has been, one member staff commented in the 15 years he has been there. This can be evidenced by 40% drop in student lesson patrols and exclusions which are a third of what they were in 2012/13
  • SRE has been taught for as long as I know to say that the policy is recent is again deliberately misdirecting the reader, a policy that has been in place which I personally approved in the curriculum meeting possibly 7-8 years ago and has been updated from time to time. the lastest update of the policy was ratified on the the first day of the inspection.
  • The majority of governors and head would disagree with ofsted that reorganising the committee structure has not brought benefits, it has in fact brought stability, consistency and improved the operation of the GB – only those minority governors that want to over exert their influence by being on all committees would not have liked the change
  • High staff turnover – this fails to take into account staff restructure within two areas that previous heads failed to tackle sufficiently especially the size of the SLT which was too large for the cohort that we had. In any case this was less than last year when there was no restructure – so an improvement on previous years.  Breakdown of the figures are as follows:. Redundancy-11, Death – 1, Dismissal – 2, Retirement – 1, Temporary contract finish – 3, Become full-time carer – 1, Leaving for another teaching post – 12. Of the 12, 5 are relocating abroad or to another part of the country. So thats 7
  • There are no middle leadership restructures on-going at the time of the inspection.
  • There is the assertion that staffing turbulence is hindering the pace of improvement. How does this triangulate with predicted school-best results this year.

There are other examples, one of note is the comment on collective worship, which has no  bearing at all with the current snapshot of the college and perversely a complete misrepresentation of the facts. Inspectors should know better to criticise governors for following DFE quigandace since collective worship is a statutory requirement and seeking a partial determination is not an evil act but part of DFE guidance. So bizarrely governors are being criticised by following DFE guidance by merely discussing the possibility of seeking a partial determination for 95% of its students.

The facts are that the discussion took place in a committee meeting 26th Nov 2009 with the previous head, not 2014 and not with the current head. At the time governors were deliberately misled and told that Circular 1/94 (guidance doc) was no longer valid and that partial determination would divide children and contradict the inclusion policy. In fact there was downright hostility, possibly by those same anonymous voices to meet the needs of the majority of the students. As a consequence determination was never applied for.

The child safeguarding policy requires particular mention since its non ratification was relied on extensively throughout the report as stick to beat the school. There are some notable points

  • The updated policy was in fact ratified at a committee meeting the week before the inspection , to say otherwise is completely false or imply that it never existed is misdirection
  • To say that governors do not concern themselves with this matter is misrepresenting governors view. We do not concern ourselves with operational matters but we do ensure that policies are in place – ofsted were misrepresenting the college when they said our policies were out of date – when we clearly had a rolling programme of policies as evidenced in the minutes of meetings

The other new situation in this inspection is the charge that pupils are ‘at risk to extremism’ – putting aside the politically driven nature of this, the lack of any mention of Extremism in the following Apr 2014 guidance for governors and the lack of what good practice looks like from the DFE

What I can say about the college is that we have in fact done some considerable work and probably more than other schools in the district – in fact at Laisterdyke enterprise and Business College there was no prevent work at all – yet this didn’t attract the same scrutiny since the LA and ofsted have to prove that everything has improved since removal of governors from there.

Ironically Carlton Bolling is one of few schools in Bradford which have worked very closely with the prevent team for two years – so much so that it is one of two case studies (the 2nd case study) in the ‘Building Resilience Report’. This was a project that sat within the districts prevent delivery plan and College had a significant role. When evaluating other schools in the district that have not have not safeguarded children against extremism yet CBC is singled out. My understanding is that the prevent team offered to speak to ofsted but were told that they were not required. Full report as follows. So the assertion by ofsted around extremism and disparity with which it has been applied speaks volumes of the ofsted inspection and how far has ofsted fallen –  Indefensible.

Furthermore , the conduct of the DFE as a whole is also in question , why was the Ofsted report leaked to the media, certainly the BBC had finalised report 5 days prior to publication – before even I had chance to read or respond to it.

As for the conduct of the local authority and the speed at which they executed the IEB initially on draft document and then a secondary application prior to the report being published – speaks volumes of how closely the DFE and LA worked to silence governors.

The facts

  • Best ever results last 4 years
  • The Best 8 Value Added score for 2013 was 1030.1, which was significantly above national averages, within the top 8% of schools nationally and resulted in an award from the SSAT. This score was in excess of the 2012 VA score.
  • The 5 GCSE’s A*-C En/Ma score of 44% was comparable in performance to the 2012 score of 50% due to the significantly lower ability profile of the 2013 cohort.
  • Pupil Premium progress in 2013 is better than national averages in most key measures and the in-school gap between PP and non-PP s is closing from 2012 to 2013.
  • Expected Progress for Maths and English in 2014 is predicted to be 82% and 81%, respectively. Although these results are not secure, internal validation supports these results with the Maths predictions validated in comparison to performance in a PIXL group unseen exam paper as well as external moderation of English coursework and mock exams. The school’s historical accuracy in predictions is also very good with estimates within a few percentage points of actual results.
  • In 2014 the school is predicted to register its best ever 5 A*-C EM score of 52%, which would be 57% under the performance measures applied to previous years
  • Best ever attendance now matching national 94.2%
  • Persistent absence has dropped from the last ofsted inspection
  • Lateness in this year has gone down from over 200 to an average of 25 (2% of student cohort)
  • We adjusted the timetable to ensure more efficient use of staff teaching hours.
  • Significant changes and investment to accommodate smaller class sizes for English and Maths

The reality is that the judgement does not reflect school at all, our students, staff and governors all know it. The following is a BBC broadcast on Wed 16th July, this included views by real parents, students and staff who know our school – not the narrative painted by those that have remained anonymous and behaved treacherously jumping onto the back of the Trojan hoax affair for their own purposes. So please do have a listen.

Likewise the well respected Bradford Partnership report which judged the school as good  – literally weeks before the inspection. Again this is an accurate description of where the school is as. It beggars belief that the two reports are so far apart.

Furthermore given the significant improvements within the school since the last inspection – everyone else other than ofsted are coming to one conclusion that the school is indeed good and that the inspection was indeed politically motivated and it shows.


In conclusion, it would be a reasonable expectation that CBC is measured on the framework and that this process should not be influenced by external forces seeking their own agenda but the facts on the ground and a snapshot of what is happening now, not what someone claimed to have happened 5 years ago. Sadly anonymous allegations that  have not been substantiated but simply repeated in the media have found their way into the ofsted report.

The outcome I am looking for is to clear the names and reputation of the governors , staff and the college.

If those that have remained anonymous have knowingly made false statements to Ofsted and HMI inspectors in order to manipulate and misdirect then criminal proceedings against those people should be made and the should no longer remain anonymous

What steps taken

Issues around due process has been raised in council via a petition for Laisterdyke Business & enterprise college. Disappointing the council decided it couldn’t afford to investigate but the Children Scrutiny committee for Bradford council has being tasked with hearing the evidence and make recommendations. The scope has now been widened by the scrutiny committee to include Carlton Bolling college since clearly I was at both schools, media speculation by anonymous voices have linked both schools to the non existent trojan hoax plot and both have had the governing bodies removed in unusual circumstances, and both raise serious questions on the conduct of those who are supposed to act impartially , fairly and objectively. I want to get to the bottom of this since I do not have anything to hide and it is in the public interest to know if there has been any serious wrongdoing as alleged in the press.