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Setting wins court ruling against Ofsted

Old Co-operative Day Nursery in Gotham, Nottinghamshire, has won a court case against governing body Ofsted for the downgrading of its setting from ‘outstanding’ to ‘inadequate’.
In what is thought to be the first judicial review win by an early years setting, a high court judge has ruled that the downgrading was unlawful, and has ordered for it to be deleted.
Ofsted inspected the nursery following a complaint from a member of the public that a child was momentarily in the road during a staff-supervised walk.
Complaint-triggered inspections are supposed to consider the setting as a whole rather than judge the complaint, and under the Childcare Act 2006, Ofsted does not have the power to carry out investigations.
Mr Justice Peter Coulson said that Ofsted inspector Joanne Gray had acted beyond her powers by conducting an investigation into the complaint, particularly given that the facts were in dispute.
The judge said that Joanne had “disregarded the terms of the complaint, the contemporaneous written evidence and what she was told by the owner, all in favour of her own view” of what happened.
He further claimed that Joanne had made “irrational conclusions” about the incident.
Joanne claimed that there were only two staff supervising the children’s walk, while evidence strongly suggested that there were three. Her report also wrongly stated that the child had been pushed.
The setting had its rating restored to ‘outstanding’ five months after Joanne’s inspection, but the report had remained on Ofsted’s website until now.
Charlotte Harris, owner and manager of the setting, told Nursery World that she was happy with the judicial review and thanked those that supported them.
“The report was eventually removed, but the loss of potential clients and the adverse effect on staff morale was inevitable,” Charlotte said.
“We now go forward with our confirmed ‘outstanding’ status and in anticipation of maintaining our high standard and commitment to our children and parents.”