Top Hayling Island school hits out at Ofsted for ‘bullying’

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A JUNIOR school has just been given an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report – but its head says ‘bullying’ tactics by inspectors have made it impossible to celebrate.

Mill Rythe Juniors in Hayling Island won top marks for teaching, pupil achievement, attendance, and leadership following a visit from inspectors in June.

Comments like ‘pupils’ attainment in maths and English remains high’, ‘pupils’ contribution to the school and wider community is exemplary’ and ‘the relationship between staff and pupils is excellent’ litter the report that should be a source of pride and happiness.

But Jenny Queripel, who joined the school 12 years ago when it was ‘satisfactory’, said the inspection left her staff in tears and her chairwoman of governors on the brink of resigning.

She said: ‘The inspectors were dismissive and very rude. There was no professional respect and they seemed to want to prove we weren’t outstanding.

‘I almost lost my chairwoman of governors over this – she was in tears. I had to plead with her to stay. She and my assistant deputy head said inspectors kept cutting them off mid-sentence with “that’s enough, I get the point”.

‘One inspector asked my assistant deputy head in a sneering tone “what exactly IS your role?”. Another turned to me to say “so you think you’re outstanding?”

‘I felt my staff were bullied and I couldn’t protect them. We’ve all worked so hard to be outstanding, but instead of celebrating we feel demoralised.

‘I’m still not sleeping, I could cry right now. Reading the report gives me no joy. Nobody deserves to be treated like that.’

Mrs Queripel has passed on the school’s concerns to Ofsted, and in spite of the bad experience has paid tribute to her staff and students’ achievements.

She said: ‘We get high standards through caring for the children – we treat them as individuals and give them what they need to make sure they all succeed.

‘My children make fantastic progress and we have very strong relationships with their families.

‘This school is a massive family and we’ve all pulled together as a team. I’m incredibly proud.’

An Ofsted spokeswoman said it encouraged schools to give feedback on inspections.

She added: ‘We also have a clear complaints process for any school that is unhappy with how their inspection is conducted.’