Threat of Ofsted on remote learning is 'disgraceful'

Heads' leader says lockdown came with no notice and many schools still do not have devices they need for remote learning

John Roberts

Coronavirus: Paul Whiteman, the general secretary of the NAHT, has strongly criticised the government for 'threatening' schools over remote learning

Education secretary Gavin Williamson's announcement that Ofsted will enforce the government's expectations on remote learning is "nothing short of disgraceful" according to a school leaders' union boss.

Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the NAHT, has accused the government of "threatening schools" after it said that parents could complain to Ofsted, which will inspect schools where it has serious concerns about the remote learning being provided to pupils.

The union leader said that schools were given little more than 12 hours' notice about the switch to remote learning in a new national lockdown, and many were still struggling to obtain the devices they need from the Department for Education.

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Mr Whiteman said: "Schools were told at 8pm on Monday night that they would switch to remote learning by 9am the next day, and to organise provision for vulnerable and key worker pupils.

"They have spent the last 48 hours working tirelessly to put plans in place, despite the fact that on Sunday the PM was saying that schools would remain open.

“Meanwhile pupils up and down the country are still awaiting the internet devices that were promised last summer.

"We’re into the ninth month of the pandemic and many schools and pupils are still waiting for their allocation to come through.

"And devices are only being made available for older primary pupils, not those in key stage 1 at all. The government really has let young people down miserably on this one."

'Nothing short of disgraceful'

Mr Williamson told MPs today that parents who are unhappy with their remote learning provision should raise this with their school.

And failing that, he said, they can complain to Ofsted, which will inspect the school if it has serious concerns about the quality of provision.

Mr Whiteman added: “It is therefore nothing short of disgraceful that the government should choose today to start threatening schools about the quality of their remote learning offer.

"Schools are keeping going in the most extreme circumstances right now – support is needed to overcome the challenges they face, not threat or sanction.

“The profession has predicted all the difficulties the government has failed to navigate schools through. I therefore appeal again to government to work alongside the profession constructively in place of threats and empty words.

"The announcements today do nothing to redress the damage the government has caused to children’s education.”

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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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