Saturday 10 August 2013

Harris Feed

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Daniel Moynihan, chief executive of the Harris academy of 19 academy schools, somehow also finds the time to be an accredited additional schools inspector, one of a pool of experienced education figures registered with the agency Tribal Education and used by Ofsted to carry out inspections that can make or break a school.

A trawl of inspection reports reveals that he has been part of just one inspection team, visiting the London Nautical School in Lambeth for two days in May, along with three other additional inspectors. The boys’ school was given a damning “requires improvement” grade.

When the Eye asked in 2011 how independent “additional” inspectors working for private firms would be, given the involvement of firms like Tribal in opening new free schools themselves, Ofsted said it would regard any situation where inspectors and their employers were “involved in an organisation in competition” with the school under inspection as a conflict of interests to be avoided (Eye 1286).

The London Nautical School is surrounded by Harris Federation Schools, of which there are 15 in South London. The Harris Academy Peckham  is just 3.5 miles away (Harris Academy Bermondsey is two miles away but is all-girls). A “requires improvement” rating also puts the London Nautical School under increased pressure to consider academy status and makes it potentially easy prey for one of the ever expanding chains.

The Eye asked Ofsted if this was a conflict under its rules, but answer came there none.

From Private Eye issue 1346 dated 9-22 August 2013

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