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Secret of Sewell Park College’s ‘Mystic Meg’ Ofsted report revealed

PUBLISHED: 07:30 05 May 2014

The headteacher of Sewell Park College, Gavin Bellamy. Picture: Denise Bradley

The headteacher of Sewell Park College, Gavin Bellamy. Picture: Denise Bradley

Archant copyright 2011

Ofsted has blamed an “administrative error” for a report which appeared to predict the outcome of an inspection three weeks before it happened – and was then published six months late.

Inspector John Mitcheson visited Sewell Park College in Norwich on October 15, 2013, to monitor how it was progressing after being graded “requires improvement” in April.

However, a letter outlining his findings to headteacher Gavin Bellamy was dated September 26 – the month before the inspection.

To add insult to injury, the apparently psychic report was not then published until May 1, 2014. Such monitoring reports are usually made public within a matter of weeks.

An Ofsted spokesman said: “As far as I can tell it’s all just administrative error. The letter was sent out last year after the inspection. The date was a clerical error.”

He added: “As far as I am aware, everything in the report is accurate. It’s just the date is not accurate and it was not published on our website in a timely fashion.”

The report itself said “senior leaders and governors are taking effective action to tackle the areas requiring improvement”.

Commenting on external support for the college, Mr Mitcheson wrote: “The local authority has increased its level of support and challenge significantly. It has served the school with a warning notice and set clear timescales for the governing body to take immediate action to ensure that standards improve.

“Partnerships with two local secondary schools have been brokered to provide the school with further support.”


  • This is a story essentially about a school which is failing badly that has been glossed over because of a clerical error on the letter from OFSTED. If I sent in and Archant reported upon, all the grammatical errors that are in the letters which are sent home with children from the same school, it would fill an issue of the Evening News!

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    IT Man

    Monday, May 5, 2014

  • Governing body-pah. Whilst not able to comment on the governors of this school, those I have known on governing bodies of other schools could not manage a guinea pig hutch let alone a school. And we are seeing the lid being lifted off a possibly very unpleasant set of actions by some boards of governors in other parts of the country. Time to abolish this anachronism-they do not have to have expertise, they do not have to be objective or without bias or even to have two brain cells to rub together. Let the professionals run the schools under the eye of professionals ,and give parents an independently paid and managed system of liaison officers to enforce accountability and to handle disputes and complaints.

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    Daisy Roots

    Monday, May 5, 2014

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