Coronavirus: Ofsted extends complaints procedure consultation

Ofsted has extended the deadline of a consultation on plans to overhaul its complaints procedure as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

The consultation was launched at the beginning of March and proposes that formal complaints raised by schools within two working days of receiving a final report will effectively delay publication of the report until the complaint is dealt with.

However, today the schools watchdog announced it would be extending the consultation’s deadline by four weeks to April 30.

An Ofsted spokesperson said: “In light of the coronavirus, we are extending the consultation to allow more people to respond”.

This extension follows a number of changes Ofsted has made in response to the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent school closures.

Earlier this month the inspectorate halted all inspections to stay in line with the government’s social distancing rules and stop the virus spreading.

It then revealed it had paused the publication of all inspection reports during the crisis, as they are “well aware providers have enough to deal with”.

Under Ofsted’s current complaints system, schools submit formal complaints within 10 days of an issue of concern but the watchdog does not have to withhold publication of the report while the complaint is considered.

The inspectorate previously admitted this process resulted in it being forced to take action after it has published a report “when a complaint investigation highlights an error in the inspection process”.

“As a result, we are proposing to consider and respond to formal complaints from inspected providers before we publish their inspection report, if these complaints are submitted promptly.”

The inspectorate believes such changes will “provide greater consistency in post-inspection arrangements across our work”.