School out of time to challenge an OFSTED report

Monday 25 July 2016

R (Dawatul Islam UK & Eire) v OFSTED, unreported, 13 July 2016. A school that sought to challenge the contents of an OFSTED report was refused permission on the basis that the claim was out of time.

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R. (Dawatul Islam UK & Eire) v OFSTED, unreported, 13 July 2016

By way of background, in November 2015 OFSTED prepared a provisional report on the school in which concerns were expressed about the school’s physical condition and culture. After receiving a response from the school, OFSTED sent a final report in December 2015 which contained significant criticisms. This report was then published on 4 January 2016.

The school issued its claim for judicial review on 4 April 2016 challenging the contents of the OFSTED report as being unfair, wrong and unlawful. The school sought to remove the report from circulation.

The claim was initially refused permission on the papers as a result of the judge mistakenly believing that the claim had been issued out of time on 11 April 2016 (the date of the court stamp).

At an oral renewal hearing, permission was again refused. It was held that although the aim of the challenge was to prevent circulation of the report (i.e. a challenge to the publication of the report which had not in any event been brought promptly), the substance of the challenge concerned the content of the report and was therefore out of time. It had been open to the school upon receipt of the final report in December 2015 to have acted promptly in seeking an injunction to prevent publication, but it had failed to do so.

Permission was refused on the basis that the claim was out of time and OFSTED would be reassessing the school in six months meaning that the matters complained of could be addressed within the new report.

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