Ofsted inspections will be cancelled next week so schools can use the final days of term to consider Omicron contingency measures for January.
The move was communicated to headteachers in an email this morning. It covers all schools, as well as early years and colleges.
Schools will only be inspected next week if there are safeguarding concerns.
The email reads: “Early years settings, schools and colleges will be using the final days of term to put in place these measures and consider contingency measures for January.
“In order to do that contingency planning, the secretary of state for education and her majesty’s chief inspector have agreed that early years settings, schools and colleges will not be inspected next week unless there are safeguarding concerns.”
Guidance states schools should revisit their existing outbreak plans to “ensure they are well prepared for any future changes”.
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said “one week goes nowhere near far enough and we will be pushing for that suspension to be extended into the new year.”
Ofsted has already confirmed that secondary schools will not be inspected, unless there are urgent concerns, during the first week of schools’ return in January. This is so that onsite pupil testing in secondaries can take place.
But the email adds: “Ofsted inspections will continue to play an important role in providing independent assurance as schools and colleges continue to respond to the pandemic.”
Ofsted visits for local authority SEND services and joint targeted area inspections will continue.