Ofsted will not inspect schools next Wednesday or Thursday as teachers prepare to strike again over pay and school funding.
Members of the National Education Union in all nine regions of England are due to walk out next week. It is the first national strike since February 1, but comes after regional strikes on three days last week.
However, the watchdog said it wanted to “maintain school inspection activity as far as possible, while responding sensitively to local circumstances”.
“To avoid the two-day national strike on Wednesday March 15 and Thursday March 16, we will notify schools on Friday March 10, for inspections taking place on Monday March 13 and Tuesday March 14.”
Inspections do not normally begin on a Monday, and the change raises the prospect of leaders and staff worrying all weekend about inspectors arriving on a Monday morning.
James Bowen, director of policy at the NAHT school leaders’ union, said: “We are certainly concerned about the impact on the wellbeing of school leaders and their staff if they receive notification on a Friday of an inspection for the following Monday.
“NAHT believes it would be far better to simply suspend inspections during weeks where industrial action is taking place.”
Ofsted said it would also have its “usual deferral policy in place”.
“Any deferral requests made as a result of strike action will be considered on a case-by-case basis.
“Our inspections of social care, further education and skills and early years providers will continue as planned.”