Ofsted will resume school inspections in September to reassure parents

Ofsted will resume school visits in September to ‘reassure’ parents it is safe for children to return – but will NOT judge teachers unless there is ‘serious concern’

  • Schools are preparing to reopen with social distancing measures in September
  • Some schools have been closed for six months due to the COVID-19 pandemic
  • Ofsted will visit schools to check they are creating a safe environment for pupils
  • Schools will not be graded unless there Ofsted believe there is ‘serious concern’

Ofsted will visit schools in September in a bid to help convince parents to send their children back to school in the autumn. 

The checks by the education watchdog will not be the same as normal inspections and will be checking how each school is making plans towards creating a safe environment for the children.

The schools will not be judged nor given a grade, unless there is ‘serious concern’ whereby enforcement powers may be required, and Ofsted will write to parents to explain how their child’s school is preparing for the new term in September.

Ofsted will visit schools in September to check how schools are preparing for the new term during the coronavirus pandemic 

Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman said: ‘When schools and colleges open their doors fully in September, they will face a new set of challenges, but also a huge opportunity to rekindle children’s love of learning.

‘Ofsted will be part of the rebuilding effort from September. Our visits will help parents understand how schools and colleges are getting children and students back up to speed after so long at home.’

The education watchdog will begin inspections of volunteer schools and colleges at the beginning of September before spreading across other education establishments by the end of the month.

Visits will also be made to regulated nurseries and childminders, with children’s social care providers and children’s homes also set to be inspected in the autumn.

The education watchdog will make sure schools are creating a safe environment for pupils to return to education and will write to parents to say how their child’s school is making plans in these difficult circumstances

Private schools not part of the Independent Schools Council (ISC) will continue to have non-routine inspections.

The findings in English schools will be discussed with the Government and normal Ofsted school inspections will resume in January 2021.

One union leader recognised the effort being made by Ofsted to help the ‘back to school’ effort in these special circumstances, though pleaded with the education watchdog to not be an unnecessary distraction for schools during these crucial planning stages.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said: ‘We can see the good intention behind Ofsted’s plan to work collaboratively with schools and colleges on the vital task of reintegrating children back into the classroom.

‘But many leaders will need a lot of convincing that these visits will bring real value or otherwise they will simply be a distraction. 

Ofsted will not give the schools a grade or pass judgement, unless there is ‘serious concern’ to use their enforcement powers

‘As such, the rationale, consistency and tone set by inspectors is going to be more important than ever. 

‘These visits must not turn into inspection by another name, at a time when schools and colleges will have so much to deal with.

‘We are not convinced that talking about a longer term plan to bring back full inspections in January is wise at this stage. 

‘It is likely that schools and colleges will be periodically dealing with coronavirus outbreaks, continuing to manage extensive safety measures, and supporting children whose learning has been disrupted, including many who will be taking GCSEs and A levels next summer.’

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