Parents can report schools to Ofsted on remote learning

Gavin Williamson says watchdog will enforce the legal duty on schools to provide high-quality remote education

John Roberts

Coronavirus school closures: Ofsted will be inspecting schools where it has concerns about the quality of remote learning

Education secretary Gavin Williamson has said that parents can report schools to Ofsted if they are unhappy with their children's remote learning during the national lockdown.

He told MPs that this mandatory duty placed on schools to provide remote learning will be "enforced" by the watchdog, which will inspect schools if it has serious concerns about the quality of this provision.

Mr Williamson said that if parents were unhappy with the remote learning offer, they should first raise this with their child's teacher or headteacher and failing that report the matter to Ofsted.

Legal duty: What the DfE expects from schools on remote learning 

Ofsted: Return to full inspection delayed until the summer

Williamson: Ofsted's return will be safe and sensitive

Mr Williamson said Ofsted will inspect schools of any grade where it has serious concerns about the quality of remote education being provided.

Coronavirus: Ofsted to inspect remote learning

He was speaking to MPs about the DfE's plans for schools during the new national lockdown, which prime minister Boris Johnson announced on Monday night.

Mr Williamson said: "We have set out clear legally binding requirements for schools to provide high-quality remote education.  This is mandatory for all state-funded schools and will be enforced by Ofsted.

"We expect schools to provide between three and five hours' teaching a day, depending on the child's age. If parents feel that their child's school is not providing a suitable remote education, they should first raise their concerns with the teacher or headteacher and, failing that, report the matter to Ofsted

"Ofsted will inspect schools of any grade where it has serious concerns about the quality of remote education being provided."

On Monday night after the prime minister's announcement, the DfE sent updated guidance to schools setting out its latest expectations for remote learning.

This included providing frequent, clear explanations of new content, delivered by a teacher or through high-quality curriculum resources or videos.

The DfE also expects schools to have systems for checking, at least weekly, whether pupils are engaging with their work, and inform parents immediately where engagement is a concern.

However, concerns were raised yesterday that primary schools have been unable to order their allocation of laptops from the DfE.

Before the Covid crisis worsened, the DfE and Ofsted had planned for monitoring inspections of schools to resume in January, with the watchdog making a full return to graded inspections in the summer term.

At the time, Mr Williamson said that Ofsted should return sensitively and safely in 2021.

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John Roberts

John Roberts

John Roberts is North of England reporter for Tes

Find me on Twitter @JohnGRoberts

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