Ofsted has announced a programme of ‘visits’, not inspections, that will aim to reassure parents, ministers and the public about how schools and colleges are managing the return to full education of their pupils and students. Inspectors will use the visits to work collaboratively with leaders, listening and providing appropriate challenge. Ofsted will report back on the national picture across England.
The visits will not be graded. Instead, the outcomes of the discussions with school and college leaders will be published in a brief letter so that parents can understand what steps are being taken to help children back into full time education.
The visits will be piloted with volunteer schools and colleges from September. A return to full education inspection is planned for January 2021, but this date will be kept under review.
Amanda Spielman, Ofsted’s Chief Inspector, said:
I’ve been impressed at the hard work and can-do attitude of so many teachers, heads and pupils in such uncertain and difficult times. 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. And we want to help schools, by having constructive conversations and not passing judgement. We all share the same aim – helping this unique generation make up for lost time and get the high-quality education they deserve.
Ofsted’s vital regulatory work in children’s social care, nurseries and childminders has continued throughout lockdown to make sure that standards are being maintained and that there is well-run, safe and effective social care and childcare available when needed. Where necessary, enforcement action has continued.
From the autumn, visits will also be made to regulated nurseries and childminders to monitor progress and regulatory standards, prioritising those where we have concerns as well as looking at a wider sample. Local authorities and children’s social care providers, including children’s homes, will also receive visits from Ofsted inspectors, to check on the experience and progress of children needing protection or care. These visits will not be graded, but if we have serious concerns, we will use our enforcement powers.