First-tier tribunal appeals
Children’s home appeal
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers were instructed to represent a children’s home that had been issued with a notice of cancellation of registration by Ofsted. We were instructed after the owner of the home had lodged their appeal to the first tier tribunal. The reasons for the cancellation were wide-ranging, including a long history of concerns regarding the home’s compliance with regulations, their management of children’s behaviour, record keeping and concerns about the honesty and integrity of the owner and responsible individual at the home.
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers dealt with the initial stages of the appeal and prepared witness statements and evidence in response to the concerns, which was substantial. Upon receiving and considering our evidence, Ofsted approached us to advise they were no longer opposing our appeal and the appeal was therefore allowed. This meant that the home could remain open and the child residing at the home could remain there.
Nursery suspension lifted
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers represented a nursery that was subject to a suspension order issued by Ofsted as a result of a serious safeguarding incident that took place. Our Ofsted lawyers assisted the nursery with lodging an appeal against the suspension notice to the First-tier Tribunal. Our lawyers prepared witness statements and evidence to demonstrate that the nursery had taken steps to prevent the incident from occurring again and that the nursery did not place children at risk of harm. Upon consideration of this evidence and a matter of days before the appeal was heard by the Tribunal, Ofsted made the decision to lift the suspension with immediate effect.
Successful appeal against a notice of cancellation of a nursery
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers were instructed to act on behalf of a nursery that had been issued with a notice of decision to cancel their registration with Ofsted. The reasons for the cancellation were wide-ranging, including a long history of concerns regarding the nursery’s compliance with the regulations. Our specialist Ofsted lawyers assisted the nursery in lodging an appeal to the first tier tribunal. Our Ofsted lawyers also dealt with all stages up to the appeal hearing, including attending the telephone case management hearings, preparing a number of witness statements and evidence in support of the appeal, and preparing various legal documents such as the Scott Schedule. Shortly before the final hearing, Ofsted conducted two monitoring visits at the nursery and agreed that improvements had been made. They subsequently confirmed that they were no longer opposing the appeal and the appeal was therefore allowed. This meant that the nursery was able to continue operating.
Childminder suspension lifted
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers were instructed to act on behalf of a childminder who was subject to a suspension order following concerns being raised about their mental health. An appeal was lodged with the First-tier Tribunal against the suspension notice, and evidence was presented that the childminder did not have any long-standing mental health conditions that posed a risk to children. Upon receiving our evidence, Ofsted approached us to confirm that they no longer considered our client to be a risk and that they were lifting the suspension.
Successful suspension appeal for childminder
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers were instructed to act on behalf of a childminder who was subject to a suspension order issued by Ofsted, and had also been issued with a Notice of Intention to cancel their registration as a child-minder. Ofsted took these actions as a result of an allegation by a parent that our client had assaulted a minded child. Ofsted also had concerns about our client’s safeguarding knowledge.
Ofsted refused to lift the suspension due to the concerns, and therefore an appeal was lodged with the First-tier Tribunal. Our specialist Ofsted lawyers prepared witness statements and evidence to demonstrate that the childminder was not a risk to children and had sufficient safeguarding knowledge. The appeal was heard by the Tribunal and following consideration of both our client’s and Ofsted’s evidence, the Tribunal agreed that our client did not pose a risk to children. The Tribunal ordered that the suspension be lifted with immediate effect.
In addition to this, our specialist Ofsted lawyers made written representations against Ofsted’s Notice of Intention to cancel our client’s registration as a childminder. Following consideration of the representations, Ofsted confirmed that they would not be proceeding to cancellation of registration. Our client was therefore able to continue working as a childminder without restriction.
Suspension lifted for childminder
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers were instructed to act on behalf of a childminder who was subject to a suspension order issued by Ofsted. This was as a result of an allegation by a parent that our client had assaulted a minded child. The complaint had also been reported to the local authority designated officer and the police.
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers were instructed approximately 12 weeks into the suspension and the childminder was already losing business. Ofsted would not lift the suspension until the conclusion of the police investigation. Our specialist lawyers made contact with the police and pushed for an interview as a matter of urgency. The police closed the case with no further action 24 hours after the interview. The local authority designated officer and Ofsted subsequently closed their own investigations and the suspension was lifted. The childminder managed to retain a number of their longstanding clients and continue with their business.
Nursery complaint improves grading of nursery
We were instructed by a nursery with an excellent inspection history who had recently had an inspection resulting in a grading of ‘requires improvement’. The nursery had serious concerns about the conduct and professionalism of the inspector, as well as the processes followed and findings made by the inspector. A formal complaint was lodged with Ofsted who determined that the evidence gathered did not meet their quality assurance standards and therefore the report would not be published. A new inspection with a different inspector was carried out urgently and the nursery retained their ‘outstanding’ grading. In addition, a number of elements of the complaint were upheld.
Nursery re-gained ‘good’ rating following an early re-inspection
We were instructed by a nursery with a consistently good inspection history. The nursery was the subject of a concern driven inspection as a result of a technical breach of the Early Years Foundation Stage, which resulted in a grading of ‘inadequate’. The breach was accepted by the nursery, however, we sought to persuade Ofsted that this nursery was clearly a good provider and they should be inspected as early as possible to minimise the impact of the grading. Ofsted agreed to an early re-inspection within three months, rather than the usual six to 12 month period. The nursery regained their ‘good’ grading at the early re-inspection.
Nursery regained ‘outstanding’ rating and granted a new inspection
Our Ofsted lawyers were instructed by a nursery that had an inspection history of ‘outstanding’ for a number of years. However, the nursery had been recently downgraded to ‘good’ at an Ofsted inspection. The nursery had serious concerns about the inspector at the outset of the inspection due to there being a conflict of interest between the inspector and the nursery. The nursery was concerned that the conflict prevented the inspector from forming fair and non-bias conclusions. The nursery also had concerns about the inspector’s professionalism and conduct throughout the inspection. A formal complaint was lodged with Ofsted, who agreed that there was a perceived conflict of interest and therefore the evidence base could not be relied upon. The report was not published and the nursery was granted a new inspection, with entirely different inspectors.
Children’s home grading increased to ‘good’
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers were instructed by a children’s home in respect of an interim inspection that had resulted in the leadership and management being graded as ‘requires improvement to be good’. The children’s home was concerned that the inspector had not considered all of the available evidence and as such, had graded the home incorrectly. A formal complaint was submitted to Ofsted and after consideration, Ofsted agreed that not all of the evidence had been appropriately considered. The report was amended and the children’s home’s management and leadership grading was increased to ‘good’.
Challenging registration decisions
Our specialist Ofsted lawyers were instructed by a children’s home and its manager in respect of a notice of proposal to refuse their registration with Ofsted. The reasons for refusal related to concerns about the responsible individual and the manager’s abilities to meet the regulations. Detailed representations were made to Ofsted on behalf of the home and the manager, setting out why the decision to refuse registration was unreasonable and detailing the steps taken by both to rectify the outstanding issues. Within a matter of days of lodging the representations, Ofsted confirmed that they would not be adopting either of the proposals, and that registration for both the home and the manager would be granted.