inspection, Ofsted

Ofsted back to business as usual from end of January

The watchdog will have its full team of inspectors back in schools from January 31

The watchdog will have its full team of inspectors back in schools from January 31

19 Jan 2022, 17:51

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Ofsted

Ofsted will have a full team of inspectors to call on again at the end of the month after weeks of reduced activity.

The inspectorate has had access to just over 10 per cent of its usual inspection workforce since schools returned this term. Inspectors who were also working in schools were stood down to “focus on their leadership responsibilities”.

However, in an email sent to school leaders this afternoon, and seen by Schools Week, it has been announced it will be back to full strength from the end of this month – suggesting inspection activity will be back to pre-Omicron levels.

The Department for Education (DfE) stated: “At the start of this term, Ofsted temporarily halted the use of part time inspectors who are also front-line leaders. They will now invite those who are able to inspect again to do so from Monday 31 January.”

It will be for leaders to decide whether to offer their services to Ofsted, “as has always been the case”, the email adds.

Deferral policy remains

At the beginning of term Nadhim Zahawi announced that inspectors who are also education leaders will be left to “focus on their leadership responsibilities at this critical time”.

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He said this would only be a “temporary measure”.

Due to the change Ofsted was forced to rely solely on the 185 inspectors it directly employs – just 13.6 per cent of its normal school inspectors roster.

The reduced workforce meant far fewer schools were visited at the start of the term than was expected.

Today’s message to leaders reminded schools that Ofsted’s deferral policy “remains in place and Ofsted will continue to remind providers about it for the remainder of this half-term”.

Last term around a quarter of requests to defer inspections were turned down by Ofsted.



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  1. Lesley Clapham

    Ofsted should not be visiting schools at all this half term. Staff have been under so much pressure due to lack of staff and working with children and parents that have had such disruptions in the past two years. Schools should be allowed to recover from the pandemic without the added pressure of these visits. Due to such pressure I have decided to leave at the end of this academic year.