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Ben Jones
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
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Experience:  Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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I would like some advice on the following. I would like to

Customer Question

I would like some advice on the following. I would like to know if this is a breach of the disability discrimination act?
My main employer is the Academy mentioned in the correspondence I have attached.
To be an inspector for Ofsted you now need to be in a leadership position in a school and pass a whole new application process, this was started in 2014 - 15, it was very rigorous but I passed it even though I had been very ill.
The first letter from Caroline O'Mara at Ofsted states that although I have passed the rigorous training and assessment they are suspending me because the Academy went into a category in June 2015. I recently received another communication telling me that they were now withdrawing my 'Ofsted inspector status.'
Can you advise me of what actions I could/ should now take as I feel I have been treated unfairly.
Regards
Katie York
Dear Ms O'Mara,
I write with reference to your communication of 27th July‎ 2015 which stated the following:
Dear Ms York
Further to our telephone conversation regarding the training and selection programme for Ofsted Inspectors, it is with regret I write to confirm that your Ofsted Inspector role has been suspended pending the judgement outcome of the recent Ofsted inspection at Stockley Academy.
I also confirm that the Common Inspection Framework training due to take place tomorrow has also been suspended.
Ofsted is clear that inspectors must have both the experience and the credibility required when challenging others to improve.
I will write again once the inspection report has been published to confirm next steps.
With reference to this I would like to have the decision reviewed and would like to present‎ the following facts.
My circumstances are quite exceptional. Several of the following points have already been stated in my online application where I was very open and honest.
I joined xxxx Academy in March 2011‎ as Vice Principal. I came from an outstanding school, yyyyy Academy, where I had worked with the leadership group to move the Academy from satisfactory to outstanding over a 3 year period. I was employed at xxxx Academy to increase leadership capacity. Between June 2011 and June 2013 our 5A*-C with English and Maths increased. I put in place a number of strategies to improve leadership capacity, CPD and Performance review procedures, the impact of these is reflected in the good Leadership and Management judgement obtained in the 2013 Ofsted report.
I trained with Tribal and had a successful shadow inspection in ‎June 2013. As I was awaiting ‘Sign off’ ‎I was diagnosed with Pancreatic Cancer in September 2013 and had to undergo aggressive chemotherapy and radiotherapy. I did not return to work until September 2014. I make this point to emphasise that I was not able to play any part in school improvement in this academic year and as you will be aware the Academy results dropped significantly below the floor standards in August 2014. I am not accountable for this drop in standards.
I returned to work for 6 weeks and then In October 2014 I had to go in to hospital for major surgery to remove the tumour. I did not return to work full time until after Easter 2015. I make this point again to reiterate that I was not at work at the Academy at this time and thus could not make a contribution to its improvement.
I am not responsible for the drop in standards over the past 2 years. I have worked hard against the odds to become an Ofsted Inspector. I have passed the rigorous training and assessment which many more experienced inspectors did not.
I strongly believe that when a school is given a judgement of 3 or 4 it should be borne in mind that not all the individuals in that school are ‘ requires improvement’ or ‘inadequate’ in their practice. To me it seems really unfortunate that this blanket conclusion is often drawn from such a judgement. I certainly feel that this is being applied to me even though throughout my career I have never been less than a good or outstanding practitioner. How do such schools turn themselves around if their quality staff feel tarnished by such judgements? I took on this training not only for my own Professional Development but to benefit my school by gaining an insight into high expectations and quality practice that I could then share to assist my school in improving . Consequently, I feel it is incredibly short sighted that I am now suspended from training and thus the very place that would benefit from my training will not benefit.
From my perspective I feel that I have battled against very difficult odds to get back to work and back to inspection only to be denied this opportunity through no fault of my own.
I think this decision is unfair and is very demotivating for me.
Yours sincerely
Katie York
Submitted: 9 months ago.
Category: Law
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Hello, my name is***** am a qualified lawyer and it is my pleasure to assist you with your question today. When did the alleged discriminatory act take place?
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Ben, The 27th July 2015 was the day I was suspended, final withdrawal of Ofsted status 23rd January.Also I have just read the terms are you able to remove personal details from this as I would not like to see them posted?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
So as far as you are concerned the discriminatory act was the withdrawal of Ofsted on 23 Jan 2016? I will request that personal details are removed and I will reply to your query in more detail later on today, thanks
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Ben, I feel I have been discriminated against because I had cancer. The standards at the Academy fell when I was not here so could make no contribution to improvement. However, I am being treated as if I was a part of that failure and punished for it. Ofsted are saying I am not credible as an inspector because I am working in a 'special measures category school.' However my standards are good to outstanding and always have been and they are making no concessions for having had cancer and still passing their assessments.
I also made it clear in my application to them in Nov 2014 that I was off work receiving treatment for cancer and had been unable to contribute to school improvement.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Hello again, thanks for your patience. There is indeed potential for disability discrimination here. Under the Equality Act 2010 a person should not be treated detrimentally as a result of a disability or they should not be subject to any practice, provision or criterion which places you at a disadvantage because of your disability. In addition, they will need to make reasonable adjustments. So in your case this is not direct discrimination where you are directly treated detrimentally because of the disability, rather it is indirect discrimination because the provision they are applying places you at a disadvantage as a result of your disability. They could have also made reasonable adjustments by discounting periods when you were off ill because of your disability. One thing I must point out is that there is a strict time limit of 3 months from the date of the discriminatory act to make a claim so if this happened on 23 Jan 2016, your claim must be submitted by 22 April, so only 10 days left from tomorrow. This is your basic legal position. I have more detailed advice for you in terms of the steps you must take to progress this further, which I wish to discuss so please take a second to leave a positive rating for the service so far (by selecting 3, 4 or 5 stars) and I can continue with that and answer any further questions you may have. Don’t worry, there I no extra cost and leaving a rating will not close the question and we can continue this discussion. Thank you
Ben Jones, UK Lawyer
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 45315
Experience: Qualified Solicitor - Please start your question with 'For Ben Jones'
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Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Hi Ben, thank you I look forward to receiving your advice so I can crack on with this.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Good morning, so if you are wishing taking this matter further, as mentioned you need to act relatively fast to ensure you are within the time limit to claim. Whilst a claim for discrimination can be submitted in the employment tribunal, a new feature in the claims process is mandatory early conciliation with ACAS. This requires prospective claimants to notify ACAS and provide details of their intended claim and they would then try to negotiate between the claimant and respondent to seek out of court settlement in order to avoid having to take the claim to the tribunal. It is possible for the parties to refuse to engage in these negotiations, or that they are unsuccessful, in which case they would get permission to proceed with making the claim in the tribunal. If negotiations are initiated and settlement is reached, then the claimant would agree not to proceed with the claim in return for the agreed financial settlement. The conciliation procedure and the form to fill in can be found here: https://ec.acas.org.uk/Submission/SingleClaimantPage In terms of the time limits within which a claim must be presented, the early conciliation process places a ‘stop’ on that and the time between notifying ACAS and them issuing permission to proceed with the claim would not count for the purposes of these time limits.
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Ben, I feel this is a moral issue, Ofsted deserve to be publicly shamed for the way they have treated me, after all they are inspecting other bodies on their compliance with equal opportunities and yet have fallen very short in their treatment of me. Is the best I can get here a financial settlement? What I really want is this to be brought to public attention so they don't treat any other teacher in the way they have treated me and no other public body treats someone with cancer in the way I have been treated. When you have been this ill your confidence gets seriously undermined and then to have this done on top of that is incredibly unjust. I am sure that you are aware that people who become sick or disabled are not treated well by employers generally.Is there any other route I can take?
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Assuming no settlement is reached, and you decide to make a claim the claim will be public so you can use whatever information comes out from it to bring it to the public's attention - you can contact media outlets if needed and if interested they can report it. But this is what your options really are
Customer: replied 9 months ago.
Okay Ben, that is what I will do. thanks very much.
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
You are most welcome. If you have a second to leave a rating please that would be appreciated. Thank you
Expert:  Ben Jones replied 9 months ago.
Ah sorry already done, ignore that

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