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Full Ofsted inspections expected from September

The majority of summer term activity will remain lighter-touch, monitoring inspections

The Education Secretary has today (29 March) confirmed his request that Ofsted step up its inspection programme over the summer term, with a view to returning to a full programme of inspections from September 2021.

During the summer term, the majority of Ofsted’s activity will continue to be lighter-touch monitoring inspections, as have been in place since January, with a fuller inspection only taking place where there has been a clear improvement from a current Inadequate or Requires Improvement rating, or where there are serious concerns, particularly in relation to safeguarding.

This approach balances the needs of parents and carers to have confidence that standards are being met, alongside schools’ and the wider education sector’s continued prioritisation of their students’ recovery from the impact of the pandemic.

Ofsted has set out further detail of its plans for the summer term, covering the full range of its inspection activity, including state and independent schools, further education providers, early years and initial teacher training.

Ofsted is currently running pilot inspections, as it finalises its approach to making sure inspections and judgements over the summer term are sensitive to the context of the pandemic. Ofsted will publish its updated inspection handbooks next month.

The Department is expecting schools and other settings to be returning as quickly as possible to a full breadth and depth of provision, whilst considering additional interventions that need to be put in place to meet students’ needs in light of the pandemic, for example around attendance or behaviour policies that support young people to quickly re-engage with education. This will be particularly important in helping students who have fallen behind to receive academic and pastoral support, which can only happen when students are in regular attendance at school or college.

Education Secretary Gavin Williamson said:

I have asked Ofsted to resume inspections in the summer term in a way that is fair and proportionate to schools and other settings that we know are still emerging from the immediate impact of the pandemic, whilst making sure parents have the necessary reassurance that only Ofsted can bring.

I will continue working closely with HM Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, to make sure plans are in place as we work towards the inspection regime returning in full from September.

Published 29 March 2021

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