Exclusive: Rule out Ofsted lockdown visits, say heads

Amanda Spielman must confirm inspection visits will not take place in person during the current lockdown, says ASCL
8th January 2021, 1:35pm
John Roberts

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Exclusive: Rule out Ofsted lockdown visits, say heads

https://www.tes.com/magazine/archived/exclusive-rule-out-ofsted-lockdown-visits-say-heads
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School leaders have called on chief inspector Amanda Spielman to confirm that Ofsted will not be sending inspectors into schools during the national lockdown.

The watchdog is set to resume monitoring inspections from 18 January and Ms Spielman is said to be in discussions with the Department for Education about how they are carried out.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has called on Ofsted to rule out inspectors carrying out these monitoring inspections in person.


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Mr Barton said: "We have written to Amanda Spielman to ask her to confirm that no monitoring visits will take place on site while schools remain closed to most pupils.

"Given that Ofsted conducted its autumn visits remotely during the second national lockdown in November, we would expect this to be the approach during the new lockdown.

"It is clearly important to minimise the risk of coronavirus transmission by keeping the number of people on site to the minimum that is necessary."

The return of graded Ofsted inspections, originally scheduled for this month, has been pushed back to the summer term.

However, the watchdog is due to start carrying out monitoring inspections in 10 days' time.  

Department for Education guidance published yesterday said: "As announced in December, while Ofsted's routine graded inspections remain suspended, inspectors will, during the spring term, conduct monitoring inspections of schools most in need of challenge and support - those previously judged to be providing an 'inadequate' education and some previously judged to 'require improvement'.

"Those inspections will provide assurance that pupils in those schools are receiving the best possible education - whether through classroom teaching or remote education. The Department is discussing how these inspections will be implemented with Her Majesty's Chief Inspector."

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said that Ofsted will be "enforcing" the government's expectations on remote learning during the national lockdown and said that parents who are unhappy with their child's school's provision can complain to Ofsted.

However, as Tes reported yesterday, schools will not be downgraded over remote learning this term as any school Ofsted inspects over remote learning concerns will only receive an ungraded monitoring inspection. 

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