Ofsted inspections should not resume until at least September of next year, according to a former Department for Education national schools commissioner.
Sir David Carter has suggested that schools should not be inspected during the next academic year as the sector recovers from the impact of the coronavirus.
Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, has also called for schools to be given time to allow pupils to readjust to full-time education before inspectors return.
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Sir David called for Ofsted inspections to be placed on hold for more than a year in a comment on social media.
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He warned that pupils will have been off school for six months and some staff may not return and this situation will need to be handled with "incredible sensitivity".
In terms of inspection I cannot see how it can restart ahead of Sept 2021. 1-kids will have missed 6 mths of school 2-some staff may not return & that needs incredible sensitivity 3-y10 are doing GCSE on 6 mths less teaching 4-Schools will feel empowered to say enough is enough— David Carter (@Carter6D) March 21, 2020
Ofsted had already suspended all routine inspections before schools were largely shut down last month. And it has said it will not hold schools accountable on this year's GCSE and A-level grades.
But there are questions about how quickly inspections could resume once schools are allowed to reopen.
Mr Barton said: “We are talking about the longest period of time children will have spent away from structured learning in this country for a very long time. Longer than during the Second World War.
“If young people are going to be without structured learning for six months then the focus of the profession is going to have to be making up for lost time.
“We are going to need to work on getting children to resocialise and to get used to what is expected of them in school again.
“That is going to be the focus of the first term at least. It is going to be a national mission to make up for lost time.
“Any thought about accountability measures, inspections and league tables will have to wait.
“If we work on the assumption that schools return in September then I think the earliest we could think about the inspection returning would be January 2021.”
In a statement, Ofsted said: ‘We know this is a very challenging and uncertain time for schools, and so all routine inspections are suspended until further notice.
"Restarting routine inspections is a decision for government, in consultation with Ofsted.
"In the intervening period we are considering whether any changes might need to be made to our normal operations to reflect new circumstances, such as a lack of published performance data."