Finding remote classes hard? Now Ofsted may be watching

Inspectorate says its monitoring school inspections this term will focus on lockdown education and could see inspectors joining online lessons

John Roberts

Ofsted inspectors could join online lessons as part of its new inspection plans.

Ofsted inspectors could join a teacher's online lessons, use cameras when assessing remote education and ask to speak to pupils remotely as part of its plan for virtual inspections from next week.

The watchdog has published more details today on its plan to begin virtual visits to schools rated as requires improvement or inadequate for monitoring inspections.

It has planned to carry these out in person but abandoned this plan last week amid opposition for its own HMI inspectors.

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Ofsted has updated its guidance today on how its inspections will work now that the watchdog is carrying them out remotely at least until February half term.

It says: "Ofsted will gather any other evidence needed. It will usually be necessary for inspectors to "visit (by, for example, joining an online lesson) and/or review some remote learning in order to understand how education is being provided by the school.

"Inspectors may also, where they consider it necessary for the inspection, have discussions with staff and pupils (remotely or in person) about their work and their experiences."

The guidance also says: "Cameras will normally be used in remote meetings. When observing remote education, inspectors will ask the school whether cameras should be used." 

Ofsted announced last week that its monitoring inspections of schools will be carried out remotely until after the February half-term in response to the Covid-19 crisis.

The watchdog was due to start going back into schools to inspect from this week but said it changed its plans after the government issued advice to the public to “act as if you have the virus”.

Virtual monitoring inspections of schools will now start next week.

The decision to move to remote inspections also comes after Ofsted’s own inspectors urged chief inspector Amanda Spielman to suspend in-person visits over concerns about Covid.

It has said today that it would provide an update before the half term break on its plan for monitoring inspections after half term.

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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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