Investigation launched into Ofsted report on failing school in Bow

An investigation has begun into claims that the government’s education watchdog produced a “cut and paste” report, using identical sentences and phrases, on a failing school in Bow.

It comes after Ofsted put Malmesbury Primary School in Coburn Street under special measures following an inspection earlier this year.

But the Ofsted report on the school has been found to have striking similarities with a report on another school put under special measures, Belvedere Junior in Bexley, south-east London.

The two reports repeat a number of sentences verbatim and key passages differ by only one or two words, according to the Times Educational Supplement.

In both cases, the report said: “Some teachers do not plan learning for pupils at their different levels of ability and marking is not leading to improvement.”

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In another section of the reports, each submission stated “the majority of parents and carers are positive about how well the school develops their children’s skills in reading writing and mathematics” while stating the inspectors disagreed with them.

General secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers, Russell Hobby, said he had heard anecdotal accounts of similar “cut and paste” reports, adding that such an approach was “not acceptable given that the fate of the school rests on what is written”.

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But Ofsted said it is standing by its findings.

A spokeswoman said: “Each of these inspection reports was reviewed separately before publication in order to ensure it was supported by the evidence found on the inspection. We stand by the judgements recorded in the reports. We are concerned by the similarity of some of the drafting in the two reports and this is being looked into with the relevant inspector.”

Malmesbury Primary School refused to comment directly, but Tower Hamlets Council issued a statement saying the council and the school are waiting the outcome of Ofsted’s review.

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