Ofsted will carry out inspections remotely until February half-term following the government’s advice to ‘act as if you have the virus’.
The inspectorate has regularly sought advice from Public Health England and remains satisfied that their planned on-site activity would be safe and appropriate under current restrictions. However, given the new government messages and the practical challenges of deploying inspectors across England, Ofsted has decided that all planned inspection activity will be carried out remotely until after the February half term.
“Remote inspections of schools and further education providers will begin from 25 January, with a particular focus on how well children and learners are being educated remotely. We will inspect schools rated ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’ as planned, but we will also follow up on complaints raised by parents across all grades of school in order to resolve issues. As these inspections will not involve an on-site visit, they will be unable to cover the full scope of a monitoring inspection. We will publish details of the inspection process shortly,” said the inspectorate.
However, Ofsted will continue to undertake on-site inspections if they have immediate concerns, for example, about safeguarding, the leadership of a school or a failure to provide education to children.
Early years assurance visits will be paused until after the February half term because It is not possible to provide the necessary level of assurance of these providers without an on-site inspection of the premises, the inspectorate added.
“We will continue with our vital regulatory work in early years and children’s social care. This work will sometimes require on-site visits, which will be risk-assessed based on the nature of the premises and the urgency of the work,” Ofsted concluded.