Ofsted to inspect all schools by 2025 after £24m funding boost

Accelerated inspection schedule granted funding in spending review

Accelerated inspection schedule granted funding in spending review

16 Nov 2021, 12:59

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Ofsted will inspect all schools and further education providers by summer 2025 after receiving a £24 million boost to speed up visits.

The watchdog was asked by the government to hasten inspections in order to give a quicker assessment of how well education is recovering from the pandemic.

Ofsted say the extra £24 million in funding over the next three financial years, as part of the recent spending review, will reduce the time taken to reach every school by a year.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman said: “Schools and colleges have worked tirelessly to teach and support children and learners, at a time when their education has been seriously disrupted.”

“Children only get one chance at school. Everyone working in education must do everything they can to give this generation the best possible chance to fulfil its potential.

“Ofsted will play its part – by giving parents and learners up to date information, and by helping schools and colleges shape their plans.”

Outstanding schools are being inspected for the first time this term, having previously been exempt since 2010.

The government originally said a “longer window” to complete the inspections would be provided due to the pandemic. All providers would have been inspected within six years, rather than the usual five.

However, today’s announcement now means all these schools will be visited within the original five-year window.

Education secretary Nadhim Zahawi added the pandemic has provided “an opportunity to build back better and fairer”.

“Accelerating the rate of Ofsted inspections over the coming years will provide parents with an up-to-date picture and swifter recognition of the hard work of leaders and teachers.”

Accelerated inspections ‘tone-deaf’, warn unions

But Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said the announcement “feels completely tone-deaf” given pressure schools currently face and recent calls to pause inspections.

“Rather than thinking about how it can increase the number of inspections that take place, Ofsted should be concentrating on how best to support and inspect schools in a post-lockdown world”, he added.

Meanwhile Julie McCulloch, director of policy at the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) warned “the government has some strange ideas about the priority for education recovery”.

She said the “government hasn’t committed anything like the level of investment which is needed” to deliver recovery programmes at the scale provided. The prospect of having “deal with a visit from an inspection team isn’t particularly helpful” when schools are still dealing with pandemic disruption, she added.

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  1. Patrick H

    Astonishing really that anyone in the Government thinks this is a good idea. It just shows how out of touch they are.

    In my 5 class primary, we have two staff down with Covid: the Head and the English Lead. If the call came through tomorrow, what do we do? Swamped by curriculum monitoring, evidence gathering and curriculum design, which has not been funded, my colleagues and I are struggling to teach to children who have lost much more than the “one or two months” learning.

    They have lost the ability to concentrate in class, to remain at a task for longer than 10 minutes, they have lost punctuation skills, or basic number facts, or the ability to work in groups, or to sustain the school day. It takes twice or three times as long to get through content. I have never seen the books look so empty.

    We are not alone. Every teacher I speak to says the same thing. How is it that no-one in government knows this? Or is it that they don’t want to know and only want to be seen to be doing something. 23 million is small change compared to what is really needed to be spent.

    I would welcome Ofsted with open arms if they were coming to help. To spend some time with us and advise on where to prioritise. However, we all know that’s not how it works. We all know that Heads dread inspection because of the risk to their jobs. We all know how that transmits pressure to staff. We are all knackered and quite frankly could just do without this extra stress right now.

    What would have been helpful from government would have been issuing an interim curriculum; a stripped down quality provision. The DfE has had time to prepare one. We are almost 2 years into this. I can’t believe that all the DfE has done has been to issue guidance since March last year.

    Other countries have. Japan issued instructions on what to prioritise last year (after funding improved ventilation). Why is our government so slow to respond to what others do. Are they really dim or just plain arrogant? Half are Oxbridge grads. Surely that means people with talent and ability are making decisions. Why are they so unresponsive to schools and colleges in general? Do the Tories hate teachers that much that they can’t bring themselves to agree with them even when they are patently right?

    What Ofsted should be doing is holding people to account for the shameful way that children, parents, teachers, TAs, cleaners, cooks and heads have been let down in the last year.

    Who are those people?

    The government.

  2. Chris Brooksbank

    Best thing Ofsted could do would be to stop routine inspections not increase them. Utter waste of money.
    They really don’t care what damage they will do. Schools need support not Ofsted.

  3. Jo Salway

    £24 million between all the Schools within the UK (over 11-5 million) would raise educational standards much higher than the irregular (as they now have become) sole destroying visit by any Inspector/s. Just saying!