A school has issued a ‘serious complaint’ against an examining body after being told it requires improvement.

Symondsbury Primary School has raised a complaint against Ofsted following a recent inspection which, it says, was carried out ‘without proper process, quality standards or effective use of evidence.’

The school had previously been rated as good, but a report published today states that it requires improvement.

Issues raised by inspectors include: staff not following the school’s assessment policy consistently and pupils not being clear about how to improve their work, teachers not having high enough expectations of what pupils can do and too few pupils in Key Stage 2 reaching higher standards in writing. Praise is given by Ofsted for Early Years provision, the behaviour of the children, the breadth of the curriculum and the way leadership understand, and act upon, actions needed for improvement.

The teaching of reading and maths is commended, as are the results being achieved by pupils in these subjects. Provision for children with special educational needs is also highlighted as being strong.

The Ofsted inspection took place on the first day back after half term, and the school claims it received no formal notification that the inspection would take place.

This, along with issues ‘relating to the inspection procedure, the way evidence was gathered and the overall judgement, are now the subject of a formal complaint,’ according to the school.

Headteacher Emma Roberts said: “Symondsbury School genuinely welcomes scrutiny and transparency but we were naturally surprised that, unlike other schools, we received no proper warning of the inspection. Other standard aspects of the procedure weren’t carried out to usual Ofsted standards and we had a number of concerns that the inspection wasn’t considering the full picture at the school.”

The school’s formal complaint was lodged five days after the inspection and local MP Oliver Letwin has written to Ofsted’s chief executive, drawing her attention to the issues raised.

Commenting on the overall report, Mrs Roberts said: “We were very disappointed with the judgement overall because we believe we have clear evidence that our school overall is Good, in line with Ofsted’s own published standards.”

Chairman of governors, George Streatfeild, added: “Symondsbury School is run in such a way that we are happy to open our doors to inspection and scrutiny at any time. Our Governors are rigorous in their scrutiny of what is going on within the school and as such we were totally prepared for an Ofsted inspection. What we were not prepared for was the way in which our recent inspection was carried out, the lack of due or fair process, the insufficient engagement with all the evidence available, including a surprisingly short amount of time being spent with pupils or in classrooms, and the inaccurate nature of many aspects of the report.

“Sadly, we have no confidence at all in the accuracy of the judgements made about Symondsbury and we have been compelled to raise this at the very highest level through formal complaint.”

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “While we do not comment on specific cases, any complaints about inspections are taken seriously and will be thoroughly investigated.”