Aston Academy: Ofsted asks parents 'what they think' of Sheffield school 24 hours before inspection today
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Ofsted has asked parents to tell them "what they think" of a Sheffield school just hours before an inspection scheduled today.
The education watchdog forwarded a letter to leadership at Aston Academy for them to forward to parents informing them they will be on site today (December 5), while asking them to fill in its 'parents' view' survey.
In an email sent home to families last night, Ofsted gave parents until 11am today to "get their views in".
The letter reads: "We have just told your child's school that we will inspect it on December 5... We are writing to you because we would like to know what you think about the school."
It's an unusual move for the inspectorate. While schools can be told the day before if they are due a visit, they do not often inform parents the night before.
Aston Academy has made headlines several times in the past year.
In July 2023, a meeting was held between Rotherham MP Alexander Stafford and new headteacher Afshah Saeed over "parent concerns."
Mr Stafford announced the meeting on his official Facebook page, writing: "I have been contacted by a number of residents about Aston Academy and various issues relating to the school... If your child attends Aston Academy and there is something you would like me to raise, please do let me know.”
Parents who commented under Mr Stafford’s Facebook post raised concerns including the school’s use of supply teachers, the strict uniform policy and the frequency that detentions are handed out.
But when asked by The Star, neither the school nor the MP could be drawn to say what was discussed.
The uniform policy has also been a point of contention for parents and students. In September, "hundreds" of children were reportedly held in detention on the first day of the school year over the uniform policy, which parents have called "draconian". Later, over 700 people signed a petition to relax rules.
The Star reported how a mum-of-two said she had to pick up her Y8 son at 9am from Aston Academy after he was told his shoes broke policy - even though they had passed inspection in the first two days of the new term.
She said at the time: "I was greeted with chaos - I have never, ever seen anything like it, ever in my life.
“The car park was full of parents. The school reception was full of parents. It was horrendous…the children have two choices, they either go and sit in internal exclusion where they’re not doing any schoolwork at all, or they’re removed from school.
She said she had no choice but to remove her child from school for the day, because she would not have him sitting in internal exclusion when he had 'done nothing wrong'. She said she felt her child had been penalised and punished for something he had not done.
She also said a hall that had been set out with "over 200 tables" for students wearing non-compliant uniform was full, and an additional room had to be used.
Editor's note: A previous version of this story called the letter sent by Ofsted and the invite to the parent's survey with a limited timeframe 'a rare move'. This was incorrect to say and the story has been updated to remove it.