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Hi all


We had our ofsted inspection about 3 weeks ago now and are really not happy about some of our outcomes or about how the report has been written!

We good a Satisfactory overall.

The inspector left feeling completed deflated and unsure as to how to move forward!

The are also a few things that the inspwctor has commented on that we have evidence to prove her otherwise.

We have now decided to make a formal complaint to ofsted but was wondering if anyone on here has ever complained to ofsted about a report or inspector and how successful you were in the outcome of the complaint?


I feel that we could be opening a can of worms but feel that if we as providers don't stand up for ourselves with reguards to ofsted then inspections will become more and more unrealistic and ofsted will not learn to self evaluate THEIR!!! practice.


Any comments would nbe grately appreciated





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I complained a few years ago but not through the official channels, apparently there is a proper form. Our inspection was delayed twice over the year and I was never informed it was going to be. The inspector finally arrived the week before we broke up for christmas and gave me 4 days notice, this is in the days of a months notice. The inspector arrived at 9.45 left at 11.30, came back at 1 for 20 min feedback. We waited 5 months for the report which was written by a different person so I complained by phone about 4 times and post once. Their reply at the end of it was in the words of our chair 'you got a good, so dont rock the boat anymore'. They really didnt want to know, it was my word against the inspectors. She had proof on her notebook that she had given me more notice and that she had stayed all day. I had no such proof. She also, and this still rankles, said the children didnt use 'textured mallable materials' and to this day I dont know why she wrote it. :o

I found out later that the PLA would have/could have helped me throught he official channels, if you're with them I'd suggest you have a chat with them for advice or ideas. Huge amounts of luck coming at you. :D:D

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I must admit I really regret not complaining against Ofsted 3 years ago.

Long story short;

Easter-Malicious complaint by parent.

June, July September, 3 visits from Inspectors, initial visit investigating complaint of physically forcing a child into another room. There were 2 Inspectors-compliance order given re: paperwork, in September 3 Inspectors arrived 30 minutes before closing for the day. Each visit gave me Actions on paperwork, nothing to do with the context of the original complaint, threatened me with a non complience order, possible fine, de-registration.(one signature missing from registration forms)


October 2003 Duel Inspection, Inspectors said they were aware of complaint. outcome unsatisfactory in ALL areas. Inspectors were very bullyish, demanding data protection paperwork, other things such as heating records etc.


I, and my staff totally demorolised, wanted to close down. They said, "No, we will be back in six months. Report on Internet.


Easter 2004 I chased up the outcome of the complaint, discovered Ofsted had not even spoken to the childs parent ( who wasn't the person who made the complaint) Also said I was still awaiting re-inspection.


June 2004 After 6 phonecalls from me, an Inspector arrived to do care standards only inspection- passed-Satisfactory


October 2004 Eventually 18mths after original complaint, I recieved a letter saying no evidence found to substantiate complaint, will remain on file :o


numerous phone calls later, plus EYAT speaking to local Inspectors and then

June 2006 nearly 3 years after being found unsatisfactory in all areas, I had a joint Inspection. Satisfactory and 1 good.


My business has suffered, and intake is down 75% since the 'unsatisfactory' Inspection in 2003.


How I wish I had had the courage to complain, but I daren't because at that time I thought that what they say is so, is believed to be so. xD


HOWEVER My Inspection in 2006 was a positive experience, I disagreed with some comments within the report and wrote to Ofsted, quoting the section of the report and asking them to consider changing the wording or context or judgement. They agreed and changed some of the wording / context. Judgements are not changed, and also if they miss something, the onus is on the preschool to evidence everything AT THE TIME OF THE INSPECTION, otherwise it cannot be included in the report. ( I haven't seen this written anywhere, just in my experience, if you don't prove it, they don't say it, we can't rely on them 'seeing' it)


Hopefully you can 'negotiate' the wording of the report, hopefully you can air your grievances, in the first instance this should be done by phone, then followed by using their complaints procedure.

I do really believe that Ofsted are 'listening' to providers now, much more than ever before, and learning from us too, so go for it, and good luck. Converse with them professionaly and I am sure you will be treated professionaly. I would have attached the example of what I wrote to Ofsted re: My latest report but unfortunately it's on my Laptop which has crashed!!


I have attached their complaints procedure though. Good Luck.




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  • 3 weeks later...

What horrible stories! I'm so sorry for everyone who has had to go through an experience like this. As if our jobs aren't stressful enough already.


I don't know if it's at all relevant because I'm in a Reception class but when we were Ofsted-ed in July our verbal feedback came back that Reception was out-standing in all areas. However, when we received our draft of the report, although it kept referring to Reception provision, planning, management etc as being out-standing, the score at the end, for Reception, was a 2 (good). My headteacher phoned up to query this and was told that because the scores for the Foundation Stage Profile aren't really high then the lead inspector had decided to give a 2 but in the light of the provision etc he (the lead inspector) would amend the score to a 1 - just because of a querying phone-call!


I suppose what I'm trying to say is that, in my limited experience, go with what you believe is right. It might be stressful at the time but much more satisfying knowing that you've fought the good fight!


And, as mine and Peggy's experiences show, things can change!


The very best of luck!


Moose x

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  • 3 weeks later...

I am in a dilema, we received an 'unsatisfactory' inspection for our pre-school. Our mainsite is due to be inspected, because of the unsatisfactory inspection and because we were due one anyway. We are absolutly not unsatisfactory. Many of the comments made were assumptions, many of the areas marked unsatisfactory were actually recommended to us by our early years mentor of what we should do and one of the areas of unsatisfactory went completely against the advice from the area SENCO.


When feedback was given and we told her this she only re-iterated her own comments - how can this be fair. For a setting that is 'unsatisfactory' there were very many positive comments.


Just to you some background in case you feel I must be not 'seeing things as they really are' I must add that the setting is full on most days, that parents who leave to move out of the area actually bring their children back because they like the nursery so much. Thousands of pounds have been spent on the environment and resources for the children. Before I took over and when there setting was scruffy and had very little resources, it scored good for pre-school and satisfactory for main site. I don't see how we could have dropped that far.


My colleagues have advised that I don't complain because this particular inspector has indicated that she wants to return to do our mainsite inspection, but as a previous post has said - she didn't complain and it affected her business.


What should I do as I have to complainn quickly or miss the boat.

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Can't really comment with advice but just want to send you all lots of ((((hugs))))


I was once unofficialy inspected by an OFSTED inspector that the HT had called in to look at the teaching and learning throughout the school. I was given the only unsatistactory of my career. I was told things like- the children couldn't explain what they were learning in the playdough :o This woman also spoke to children painting wonderful patterns and pictures on a Kayak they were making, and asked them what colours they were using- then commented to me that they knew their colours- unbelievable.

I argued mightily with the grading as this would affect my Perfomance Management. I insisted that the LEA EY Advisor came in, which she did, guess what? I got excellent innovative teaching ( I use a lot of Drama) Makes you wonder! do some of these people really know what they are looking at?

So perhaps if you know you are right you should stand up for what you believe.

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We had a "satisfactory" on our care inspection recommendataions and actions that I strongly disagreed with, but decided not to complain about. The next inspector who came (to do the education one a few months later) asked if we had radically changed since the previous inspection as we weren't like she was expecting having read the previous report (I said we hadn't really changed anything). At the end of her day with us she asked me why I hadn't complained about the care inspection as she thought it was unfair and completely unrepresentative! Needless to say she gave us a "very good". Inspections are so subjective - it depends who you get.


If there are factual inaccuracies in the report you can certainly challenge those (which I did in our case and they were changed). If you are sure that you are doing a good job then it is important to complain as staff morale is so adversely affected by a bad inspection.


Does anyone know - do they send out another inspector if you complain?



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It is quite difficult to say what you should consider doing without knowing on what areas she deemed you unsatisfactory. All I can say is that I avoided complaining out of fear, fear that they have the power to say their judgment on what they perceive on the day they are with us, there is no allowance for negotiation at the time of feedback. :oxD


Is there clear evidence that shows that the areas that have beed stated as unsatisfactory are in fact meeting the standards and/or education requirements? Was this evidence available on the day of inspection?


If you can answer yes to this then I would complain.


Carolyn asks a good question, and although I am not sure, I do beleive you would get a different Inspector.


Check the complaints process, does it suggest you speak to the oringinal inspector first stating your complaint and then if not satisfied then you go on to the next stage of making a formal complaint???


It won't hurt to give Ofsted a ring and ask to talk through what the process entails, have a list of questions, ie: will it be the same inspector, how will they ensure an OBJECTIVE re-inspection.


I have thought that like any corporation/business etc, that some Inspectors think that other Inspectors are not good at their jobs, and so don't like I did make the excuse to avoid complaining that all Inspectors will back each other up, so to speak.

Sorry gabbled a bit there. :(


Bite the bullet, do what you feel you have to do.


Good luck, let us know what you decide and how you get on.



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Thanks for your support. We have now been told that we probably can't be inspected for our Bronze QF award as we have an unsatisfactory. Such a lot of hard work has gone into that, and I was hoping that achieving the Bronze would vindicate us in the eyes of parents.


I have another 10 days to complain. Spoke to Ofsted but it was just the general helpline and the only gave me very basic information. I still want to complain but just scared that I will be fighting the 'establishment' and whether inspectors stick together and just make things worse. The early years who came in because they get notified was quite surprised we had been given this rating and felt that she had nit picked.


She thinks that maybe she was more used to inspecting schools than early years settings.


Keep you posted as to whether I do a chicken impersonation or not.

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Go for it Sheila. Can your EY advisor help with the process or the PLA? I did feel when I wanted to complain that although there are channels, they arent exactly clear and like you I did wonder, especially after the response, if that they stick together. Presumably you've looked on the Ofsted site for ways to complain about them? If not this link will take you to their complaints page. Good luck in whatever you decide to do.



Wish i'd found that when I wanted to complain :o

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Its a shame everyone has had such bad experiences.


I hate the idea of someone inspecting my setting, and judging how we do our jobs, although if im totally honest with myself, I should be doing everything right all the time, and have no excuse for not.


Our last inspection pulled us up for the most ridiculous things, e.g. no wall displays.... we have just re-decorated, wall displays where ready to go up, but obviously were not up, so were not there. Also not enough multicultural references...we had disposed of the old crumpled ones, as with all others of english white references, and were shopping for more, but have you seen how much the educational ones are? it was only days since we decorated, and some other comments.


We got a satisfactory result, but i was quite offended by the petty discrepancies, and apparently although the children were obviously enjoing themselves, and choosing their own toys and games, we should have filled the tables with toys to be welcoming! so much for independance and choice.


As for anything else the inspector questions, i showed enough knowledge and reasoning for everything we do, had everything covered and so she was happy, but could only comment on what was there to see.


You can either complain, or look at what went wrong, like i did ( i worry that complaining may only aggrevate the situation) you may still want to complain, or maybe you will see what you can do to improve for next time. if the parents and children are happy with your setting, like ours where, the comments can only improve your view to organisation. That was us on a bad day, so imagine us on a good.


If they did not ask to see things, or have got things completely wrong and not discussed it, then you should definately complain. You should have received a letter giving you the procedure for disagreement with the report. maybe a few letters from parents, depending on the nature of the comments.


Good Luck. :)

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Hi Mandy

I think if you feel that strongly about it you must complain. I did the same a couple of years ago as the inspectors who turned up were (based on past experience of inspectors) incompetent, unprofessional and, to make matters worse, rude to my staff and me when they left. They did not observe the children during the whole time they were present, they missed vital evidence by disappearing down the pub for a long lunch (to "discuss their observations") and ignored our planning, preferring to bury their heads in my Operational Policies folder during the entire visit. I was compelled to complain and after an 11-month battle succeeded in having the inspection repeated and the previous one (which was declared null and void) removed from the internet - eventually! This is your reputation and livelihood at stake so you should defend it if you are right and stand up for your principles. There are good and bad inspectors and the bad ones should be weeded out - that can only happen if people complain about them with good reason, of course.

Good Luck


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Please, please contact them if you are not happy with it and feel it is unjust.


My inspection was in July, and the report not published until mid-September. Wasn't comfortable with the inspector in the sense that you couldn't relax, she questioned anything and everything, she wasn't un-friendly but nor was she friendly.


Anyway, during the evening of her first day with us (and she chose to come for 3 - we are a small a.m. pre-school!) I checked all her reports in our area that she had done and her highest grade was Satisfactory, so I was worried about what was coming. She was well out of her comfort zone when she gave us nothing less than Good with 2 Outstandings.



BUT ........ the the report came through. It was worse than you could imagine.


After worrying about it for the 30 days I wrote to Ofsted. The Area Manager rang me up and apologized and said the report was too critical of the negative points. I then had an updated report and the apology in writing.


But I still wasn't happy with something but didn't want to go down the route of making a complaint. Anyway, wrote again this week. Area Manager rang yesterday and started off the conversation saying they were not going to change it again. But they are! But she did say to me 'This really is the last time we are going to change it !' in an exasperating tone!


I really appreciate it and found the Area Manager was keen to try and put things right. From what I can gather I had a new Inspector - I knew at the time that she was very nervous. But her style of writing was very critical of any negative points and just factual of the positive.


Anyway, we have to live with that report for the next 3 years, I am still not entirely happy with it, but it definitely reads better now than the first version. I must say that I took advice from the EYAT and Senior EYAT, who both told me to accept what had been written and not take it any further - which does concern me. Peggy gave me support in this and encouraged me to write in (a million thanks Peggy!)



It is hard knowing what to write so if you want any help then please just ask me! I found that once I had written they rang anyway to discuss it, which is so much easier than writing reams in the first instance.


I wish you all the best!

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Thanks Janice. I have spoken to our local EYDCP and Teaching mentor and although they were full or praise when they last came out and said they were surprised when they read the report, when they came out they advised me not to complain and then started picking faults themselves - which annoyed me because they had said we were good before....


I have only got another week to decide before the 30 days are up. Still thinking....

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its frustrating when inspection reports do not paint a true picture of the group and difficult to know whether it is worth complaining or not

one tip if you descide to complaint then go for it and you know you have tried and if you descide not to complain try and switch off and not dwell on "what ifs" move on and look to being more aware for the next inspection.


we had a satisfactory the inspector made a few recomendations and when the report came there was a list of things that we suposedley didnt do or dont have and I was kicking myself because if only I had shown the inspector a few more toys + dug out another folder of paperwork our report would of read very differently.


"for warned is for armed" (something like that?) We have taken photos of displays and children playing in all areas of learning to provide evidence of what happens when the inspector isnt there the operational plan is organised so that there is a policy or at least a statement about what we do for every part of each standard and explainations why somethings are done differently, theres a list explaining how we have met the recomendations from the last inspection and the self evaluation form will hopefull help answer some of the questions the inspector will ask


I cannt turn back the clock and change our last inspection but I can be better prepared for the next one.......in theory!!!!

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Sheila .... I really was where you are, so much so that my letter regarding the report reached them on the final day of the 30 days.


I think everyone told me to just accept it - I certainly didn't get the support from the EYAT.


But the real complaint stage doesn't start until they have tried to sort out the situation i.e. by phone or letter.


There are various stages you go through and in the first instance, I would probably just write to them and say that there are points in the report which you wish to discuss. I can only say that Ofsted really did seem keen to rectify the situation. My issues were with the the way the report was written. Once she found a negative, she repeated it in every possible paragraph that she could and as bluntly as she could.


What did surprise me was that the first phone call is usually between the Inspector and the Provider. Mine was on holiday so I was spared that experience. I did pass on the comment that I felt much more able to discuss the report with the person who had not actually written it.


I am so glad that I did pursue it. I was encouraged by reading one of Peggy's posts that she had done similar and they had changed something. I really was surpised at how keen Ofsted were to amend the report and she checked that I was happy with everything that had been changed. They obviously don't like complaints either! xD


I suppose it really does depend on what issues you have with the report - getting the actual judgements changed would be far more involved.


If you need to see what I wrote on that first letter just let me know - I think I had 6 attempts at it! In the end I e mailed it to them and their response was very quick.


All the best! :o

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  • 2 weeks later...

Had a 'your complaint is being dealt with letter' and I know the Ofsted Inspector who came to Inspect us has contacted the Area Senco but apart from that we haven't heard anything and the 20 day deadline they work to0 is up in two days. So probably won't hear anything until after Christmas.

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Good they have acknowledged receipt of your complaint and that it hasn't disappeared into a black hole of lost correspondence. xD


Now, place all thoughts of Ofsted into your work storecupboard, lock the door, and don't let any thoughts escape into your home over the Christmas break, the ball is now in their court. :o:D



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Guest tinkerbell

Sheila good luck!

haven't beenon line for over a week so am just catching up on everything

I would have done the same .



have a good christmasx

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Good luck with it Sheila - you'll feel so much better knowing that you didn't just leave things as they were.


As Peggy says, try and forget about it for a while 'cos there's not much going to happen over Christmas.


Sounds like they are going into it quite a bit, so fingers crossed that it all turns out well in the end for you :D

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  • 2 weeks later...

Firstly Happy New Year to you all.


Very interesting response from Ofsted. I was telephoned on Thursday last week. I complained on three points, the first point I was granted and told that the wording would be taken out of the report. Interestingly the Inspector phoned up the SENCO whose advice she was contradicting and still wouldn't agree with what the Area SENCO was saying but said she would discuss it with her Manager. I was told by the Inspector of complaints that the Inspector had said that if I was that upset about it she would allow it. I explained to the Complaints Inspector that the Inspector had contacted the SENCO - he didn't seem to know that this had been done.


On the second complaint I was denied a change. The complaint related to our EYDCP Teacher Mentor advising us that we should only allow a certain number of children at an activity at any one time so that they could get the maximum benefit out of it, Health and Safety etc., etc. However, The complaints Inspector said that we were not following the Standards as were denying children access to activities and it didn't fit in with the criteria of 'What's it like for a child' and went against the standards. He suggested I talk again to the EYDCP. I said I had and that they had confirmed their advice. He still refused to budge. This then led to 45 minutes of conversation on how, as a provider, can I possibly hope to ever please Ofsted if they contradict advice I having been 'officially' given. EYDCP wouldn't be happy if I didn't follow their recommendations. To be fair the Complaints Inspector was very nice and in the end helpful with advice for the next inspection but nevertheless it still leaves me in the position of how can I please everyone.


The third complaint was also denied any action. I complained that the Inspector never spoke to any of the parents, which I said if there were concerns regarding our care they should do. He informed me that the Inspector had told him that a notice had been put up for parents notifying them of the Inspection and that they could speak to the Inspector if they wished - and that this is all they have to do if they want. I have asked him to go back to the Inspector and ask her where the notice as put up because no member of staff saw her put a notice up, she never arrived until 9.30am and left at 2.30pm on the first day and 1.30pm on the second day. Because of the time she arrived there was only one parent who dropped their child off during that time and she never approached them.


As you can imagine I am not very happy. I am glad the wording will be changed on the first complaint but the fact that the Inspector nor the Complaints Inspector actually spoke to the EYDCP regarding the advice that we were given (which we have in writing) is absolutly disgusting and totally unfair to us.


The Complaints Inspector reads the Inspector's report and makes a decision on the report and a chat with the Inspector, the Complaints Inspector does not actually appear to do any 'investigating' himself.


I now have to question everything the EYDCP tell me, ask them to show me where it relates to the Standards and will ask them to put that in writing to show the Inspector at our next Inspection.


Oh well, I still feel better for sticking up for the setting rather than taking the comments lying down. I feel we were partially vindicated.


Thanks for all your support and I will let you know the EYDCP's comments when I feedback to them - in case you are interested.

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Good for you for complaining sheila. Whats the old saying? One mans meat is another mans poison! I think thats whats happened with the EYDCP and Ofsted in this case. I always had a feeling that in order to keep everyone happy I needed more heads to accomodate all the hats I had to wear. No easy solution unfortunatly but glad you're feeling a bit happier :D

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Well done for having a reasoned 'argument', although not wholly satisfying result at least you now know that they are 'fallible human beings just like us' ( sorry couldn't help that). Your stand will give you confidence for future challenges of injustices felt.


I am sure there is a procedure if you did want to take your complaint further, as this was only a telephone consultation, but I think the outcome was not too bad.


1st point successful


2nd point, in a sense the Inspector inspects to the standards and their say is 'official' compared to EYDCP advisors 'guidance', remember in future you can take or leave guidance from EYDCP advisor. ( unless of course they feel you are breaching standards, then it would be their role to make a complaint about you to ofsted - worse scenario).

I personally don't limit numbers at activities, I enable children to deploy themselves, including communicating with each other on waiting turns, having room at the sand table etc. But that's another discussion!!


3rd point, exactly the same happened to me, except notice was put up because I asked for it when the Inspectors arrived :unsure: The parents were not approached, because of arrival and leaving times, however they spoke to one parent at lunchtime pick up about having ice boxes in packups, to be told by parent she doesn't use icepacks. This went against us in our report, what the Inspectors didn't know was that the parent they spoke to child never stayed to lunch :o :rolleyes:


Them not talking to parents can therefore be a blessing, a few years ago an inspector asked one of my parents " What are the seven standards of care?", well the parent was gobsmacked, so was I and I still don't know the answer xD:(:( . The inspectors feedback was that we didn't inform parents enough :(


I would like to hear what EYDCP comments are, I am guessing they will backstep and say it was guidance only. ;)




p.s. keep in mind EYDCP advisors come and go, they also do not have the responsibilities that the 'registered person' has in terms of passing inspections. :wacko: Use their advice wisely, take on board their advice but only act on it if you can see it improves practice and more importantly fits in with your ethos and way of working and is a good development for the children you currently have. xD

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Now, It's a while since I was involved at 'very top level' in a setting being inspected, but then (twice) we were sent a notice to put up! Granted, in days of little or no notice, that's a tad difficult, but if the onus has changed, it should surely be the responsibility of the Insp. to arrive early enough to catch parents!!!!!


Oh, and any Insp asking a PARENT what are the standards, deserves everything they get!!!! Not informing them, indeed..... :o


Sue (no insult intended to any parents present...!)

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I have talked to the EYDCP again today and yes they did say it was guidance, however I do agree with her advice but again as Peggy said that's another discussion. She did check with her coleagues to ensure that she was giving me good advice and they agreed. Difficult one really, but again then doesn't that just show that it's a difference of opinion i.e. Peggy and mine, and that if we had been 'advised' to do something then Ofsted should at least have talked to the EYDCP mentor involved before denying my complaint.


It's a very interesting but disturbing situation.... Keep you posted.

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