Phased return to Ofsted inspections

4th December 2020

Posted on behalf of Ofsted

Ofsted’s return to inspection in 2021 will happen in phases, with no graded inspections for education or social care providers planned before the summer term.

Following the Secretary of State’s announcement today, Ofsted is able to set out plans for its return to inspection in schools and further education providers – as well as plans for inspections and regulatory work in early years and social care.

Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector, Amanda Spielman, said:

“The usual level of scrutiny within the education and care system has been absent since last March, so it’s important that it returns next year as we all hope for a greater level of normality. But we understand the pressure that everyone in education and social care is working under and we want to return to our usual work in a measured, sensitive and practical way.

“We will not re-introduce graded inspections to schools and colleges before April. During the spring term, we will use supportive monitoring inspections to help those that most need it, focused on how well pupils and students are learning. Routine inspections in early years and social care are also planned for the summer term, but regulatory work will continue in the interim.

“Our role is to offer the greatest assurance we can to parents and the public about the quality of education and care arrangements for children and learners. These plans will help us support the providers who are facing the greatest challenges during these difficult times. They will ensure that inspection is fair, safe and valuable, while remaining true to our core purpose and principles.”

Over the coming months, Ofsted will discuss the approach to routine inspection in 2021 with sector representatives and test it through a series of pilot visits, where necessary.

Early years:

• We will carry out a programme of assurance inspections from the start of the spring term. These inspections will confirm whether or not a provider is meeting the early years foundation stage (EYFS) requirements.

• Assurance inspections will be proportionate and risk-based. Providers will be prioritised based on the length of time since their last inspection, and any other relevant information.

• Routine graded inspections will resume in the summer term of 2021.


Update 7th December 2012

Ofsted have now released further guidance on how they intend to carry out assurance visits and who they will inspect.

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