Almost a fifth of school requests to defer Ofsted inspections this term due to Covid were declined – despite government insistence schools use the policy to combat Omicron disruption.
But inspection deferral data released today suggests that most schools wanted visits to go ahead. Around two-thirds of schools did not request deferrals during January and were inspected as normal.
Due to the surge of the Omicron variant at the beginning of the year, unions had called for the suspension of all inspections.
Government and Ofsted held firm however, instead encouraging schools to request a deferral.
New figures show the total number of Covid deferral requests made by schools tripled from last term, when just 81 were lodged.
Ofsted declined 18 per cent of Covid-related deferral requests, but this is an improvement from the 27 per cent declined between September and December.
In total, between January 1 and February 18, 245 state schools requested to defer Ofsted inspections due to Covid. Forty two of these were declined.
Overall, the data states that 23 per cent of state school inspections were deferred this term for Covid related reasons, more than seven times the rate seen last term which stood at three per cent.
Ofsted management data shows that 311 school inspections were actually conducted in January, with the latest data set indicating 63 percent of all schools scheduled to be visited did not request a deferral.
In January, 157 state schools had inspections postponed. An additional 46 Covid-related deferral requests from schools were accepted in February.
Department of Education attendance data previously showed that 415,000 pupils, 5.1 per cent of the population, were absent for Covid-related reasons on January 20.
Meanwhile a quarter of schools reported that more than 15 per cent of teachers were off – almost double the rate seen in September.