Ofsted has carried out fewer than half of the number of inspections since September than it did in the same period in 2015, new analysis shows.
Figures show there were 672 inspections between January 1 and March 20. This compares with 1,090 in the same time frame last year.
Schools Week reported in December that schools had been waiting for up to six months for inspections, with claims the inspectorate was struggling to cope after it lost half its “additional inspectors” following a new assessment process. This was in an effort to bring inspectors in-house rather than contracting from third parties.
In the autumn term, there were just 585 inspections compared to 1,642 in 2014.
Overall, the inspectorate has carried out 1,475 fewer inspections this academic year than last.
A recruitment drive was launched at the end of the last school year by Ofsted in a bid for 70 per cent of inspectors to be serving headteachers and senior leaders.
A new inspection framework introduced by the inspectorate from September, and Ofsted told Schools Week previously that it had scheduled fewer inspections to “manage the transition”.
An Ofsted spokesperson said: “The lower number of inspections can be attributed to the introduction of new ‘short’ inspections in September last year. Under the common inspection framework, good schools – which make up 64 per cent of all schools – are inspected under section 8 of the Act and so do not automatically receive a full section 5 inspection. Hence, the lower number of section 5 inspections this spring compared with the same period last year.
“Policy changes implemented last year also mean that new schools are now inspected for the first time in their third year after opening, rather than from the fifth term, as had previously been the case. Therefore, those schools that would have been inspected this academic year under the previous rules will now be inspected next year.
“We are confident that all schools will receive an inspection within the statutory timelines.”
Schools Week has carried out full analysis of this term’s Ofsted inspection figures.