A message from Mrs Creasey the Headteacher and Mrs Rogers the Chair of Governors.
Ofsted Inspection Outcome
On Tuesday 16 November and Wednesday 17 November, the school had a full Ofsted Inspection. The final report will be published on the Ofsted website on Friday, February 11th 2022. However, we are allowed to inform parents and carers of the outcome in advance. It is important that you read this letter alongside the report.
You will see from the report that the inspectors found many positive strengths within the school and were satisfied that the school continues to provide high quality teaching and learning for the children of The Mead Infant and Nursery school.
The Quality of Education, Behaviour and Attitudes, Personal Development and Early Years Provision were all judged as good.
This reflects the hard work and dedication that has been put into the school over the past few years and we are proud of this achievement under the current Ofsted Framework.
We have shared additional verbal feedback we received during the inspection.
OFSTED said that school leaders have high expectations, shared drive and ambition. There is a clear focus on the process of implementation of the foundation subjects and it was clear that there has been a considerable amount of work and development since the Headteacher was appointed in 2018.
OFSTED also praised the EYFS (Early Years Foundation Stage) provision as a real strength of the school.
They said that there is real ambition for every child, that the design of the curriculum provides provision for all and that the school is highly inclusive.
Inspectors found that the vast majority of children achieve well; interventions are in place to support the needs of children.
SEND (Special Educational Needs and Disability) was identified as a strength and children are well supported in accessing the curriculum.
Inspectors identified that behaviour is strong overall and that the school provides a broad and balanced curriculum, British Values are embedded, and diversity is incorporated into school life, with lots of opportunities to enrich and enhance beyond the curriculum.
Inspectors also reported that overwhelmingly children feel safe and they know who to talk to. They noted that there is a sense of family and belonging and that children have a sense of pride.
Previously, the school was judged as Outstanding (1) in 2007 under a different inspection framework. However, in this recent inspection, the school was judged overall to be within the category of Inadequate (4). A detailed explanation for this is included below.
The way in which Ofsted assessments work, means that if any element of Safeguarding is deemed as not being effective, Leadership and Management and the Overall Effectiveness of the school must be judged inadequate, regardless of ratings in other areas.
We know that, on reading this section of the report, this will be concerning to you as parents and carers. We want to assure you that your children are safe at The Mead and that we take safeguarding very seriously.
We have set out some context below to help you understand how these ratings were determined.
Ofsted reached their judgement because they believed that safeguarding records are typically not detailed or thorough enough to be helpful. This was based on a review of a limited number of records. They also stated that the school had not followed the advice of Surrey County Council (SCC) regarding updating the checks of staff criminal records or DBS checks, and that governors were not provided with an accurate explanation and did not challenge this. In May 2021, the school received advice from SCC that this was considered best practice for new members of staff only. This advice was followed.
Six working days after the Ofsted inspection, SCC undertook a pre-arranged and extensive Safeguarding review which examined the areas that Ofsted had judged as ineffective as well as several others.
The review found that the school is fully compliant with all criminal record or DBS checks for existing and new staff. It also praised the safeguarding culture and commented “there is an established safeguarding team who are committed in their approach and practice when safeguarding children. There are processes in place for recording and responding to concerns. Staff are kept up to date with safeguarding training. Governance of the school around safeguarding is planned and comprehensive.” The report did not identify any serious weaknesses in safeguarding.
In view of the outcome of the safeguarding report from SCC, the school and the Governing body sought legal advice. We engaged specialist education lawyers to advise us and lodged a formal complaint with Ofsted. We felt that the inspection process had not been fair and that the overall judgement was not an accurate reflection of the school’s safeguarding arrangements.
We were advised on Friday 4th February by Ofsted that the original judgement of inadequate had been upheld.
Having sought further legal advice the school will be pursuing the next stage of the Ofsted complaints process.
This news has been a huge disappointment not only for us, the senior leadership team and the Governors, but to everyone at The Mead. We all work hard to create a school where children are always safe and are able to learn successfully in an inclusive and happy environment.
Even though we do not feel that the overall judgement is an accurate reflection of the school, we do take Ofsted’s judgement seriously and have worked with SCC to implement the recommendations
As the school has been judged inadequate, we have been issued with an academy order by the Secretary of State for Education and will become a sponsored academy. We do not know which Academy this will be yet.
We would like to offer you the opportunity to put any questions or concerns that you may have after reading the report to us, the senior leadership and the Governors.
We will be holding a meeting open to all current parents on Wednesday 23rd February at 6.15pm in the School Hall.
Please could you send any questions in advance of the meeting. You can send them in an envelope addressed to me via the office or email them to: email@example.com
As we move forward, we ask that you trust us as we continue to work hard and implement the remaining recommendations in the Ofsted report and to deliver on your aspirations as parents and carers.
Finally, I want to assure you that your children are very safe in our school, and that they continue to be looked after, happy and well taught.
We remain “PROUD TO BELONG”.
Mrs T Creasey
Mrs N Rogers
Chair of Governors