Surprise for Leeds head teacher as she faces two Ofsted inspections on the same day

Headteacher Sally Sumpner.
Headteacher Sally Sumpner.
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PREPARING for an Ofsted inspection the next day can be stressful for any teacher.

But Sally Sumpner and her team had to cope with an even worse ordeal – having two Ofsted inspections starting on the same day.

She is the executive head teacher of two Leeds primary schools which are run together as a federation.

Earlier this term, Low Road and Windmill Primary Schools in Leeds took separate calls from Ofsted saying that both schools were due to be inspected the next day.

Mrs Sumpner said that neither of the two Ofsted teams seemed to be aware of the other inspection but that they did agree to combine some of their work when speaking to the two schools’ joint governing body.

The situation meant that the head and her senior leadership team were effectively required by both teams at the same time, in different places.

She said: “I am not aware of anything like this – both schools in a federation being inspected at the same time. Neither team seemed to be aware of the other.

“Ofsted placed us in a situation that could have been very difficult to manage.

“However, the team of federation staff all fully played their parts in ensuring that stress levels were limited and the job was successfully completed.”

Both the schools were rated as good by the inspectors – meaning they retained the grade they had been given at their last inspection.

The schools are part of the Low Road and Windmill Music Federation. The two schools joined in a federation in 2007.

Mrs Sumpner said: “Low Road was a small school and it was felt that it would benefit from the schools coming together.”

Both schools have a special focus on music with every child in both schools having four hours of music lessons a week and the chance of working with either Leeds Artforms or with Opera North. This has been in place since 2012 when Windmill School joined forces with Opera North for the In Harmony project which aims to use music to raise standards in schools.

Mrs Sumpner said she was pleased the schools’ music provision had been praised by Ofsted.

She added: “This new approach to inspection of a federation was a surprise, especially as it consisted of two separate teams and not one large team.

“However, we are very pleased with the outcomes, especially their comments about our music curriculum.”

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