Schools 'sending pupils home too readily', says Ofsted

Chief inspector also suggests some parents are keeping children off school because of Covid concerns 'sparked by fake news'
6th November 2020, 1:09pm

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Schools 'sending pupils home too readily', says Ofsted

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archive/schools-sending-pupils-home-too-readily-says-ofsted
Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman Says Schools May Be Sending Pupils Home Too Readily.

There are signs that some schools "may be sending pupils home too readily" during the Covid-19 pandemic, the chief inspector Amanda Spielman has said.

She also warned of parents who were keeping their children off school because of safety concerns "sparked by fake news" and she said that schools were not immune to receiving misinformation either.

In a speech today at the online National Children and Adult Services Conference (NCASC), Ms Spielman said that Ofsted would be resuming its autumn visits to schools once the national lockdown had finished. 


Visits: Ofsted visits to be carried out remotely during national lockdown

Coronavirus: Ofsted inspectors fear unwittingly spreading the virus

Ofsted: Inspection may change when Ofsted returns 


These visits were moved online following the new national restrictions.

The chief inspector said: "Heads tell us that many parents are keeping children at home because they're worried about their safety.

"Of course, as a parent, it's completely natural to feel concern and want the best for your child. But it's frustrating if much of this is being sparked by 'fake news' and misinformation on social media, which is what we're hearing."

She also raised concerns about the way schools were sending pupils home.

Ms Spielman added: "And of course, schools aren't immune from misinformation either. There are myths doing the rounds about what schools 'have' to do, or must not do, such as no singing or swimming and keeping all doors open, no matter the weather.

"And there are indications that schools may sometimes be sending pupils home too readily. So, a consolidation and simplification of government advice for schools would be helpful for teachers and parents alike as we head towards the winter."

She also told her audience that "many parents [of children with special educational needs] haven't made an active decision to keep their child at home - they've been told that schools can't accommodate them".

Ms Spielman added: "Because it's too difficult, because COVID risk assessments won't allow it. It's deeply concerning and, understandably, many parents feel cut adrift."

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the the Association of School and College Leaders has criticised Ms Spielman's comments on signs that schools may be sending pupils home too readily.

He said: "Amanda Spielman should be doing more to support schools and less to talk them down. Children are sent home to self-isolate not on a whim but on the basis of public health advice.

"School leaders and their staff have spent many hours over the past term struggling to access that advice, and then implementing it and communicating these decisions to parents.

"This is on top of delivering education and catch-up support. It is an extraordinarily difficult situation and the chief inspector's comments are remarkably tin-eared."

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