Parents who feel their child’s school isn’t providing “suitable” remote education should report them to Ofsted, the education secretary has said.
Gavin Williamson said today that the government’s “legally-binding requirements” would be “enforced by Ofsted”, and that the watchdog would inspect schools “of any grade” where it has “serious concerns” about the quality of remote education.
It was announced on Monday that mainstream schools will be partially closed until at least February half term, with most pupils learning online until then.
“We have set out clear legally binding requirements for schools to provide high quality remote education,” Williamson said today. “This is mandatory for all state-funded schools and will be enforced by Ofsted.”
Official guidance for schools states that they must “set work that is of equivalent length to the core teaching pupils would receive in school”. At primary, this would be “three hours a day, on average, across the school cohort”, and at secondary this would be “4 hours a day, with more for pupils working towards formal qualifications this year”.
Williamson added: “If parents feel their child’s school is not providing suitable remote education they should first raise their concerns with a teacher or headteacher, and failing that report the matter to Ofsted.
“Ofsted will inspect schools of any grade where it has serious concerns about the quality of remote education being provided.”
Paul Whiteman, general secretary of the school leaders’ union NAHT, said it was “nothing short of disgraceful” to threaten schools about the quality of their remote learning offer.
He added: “Schools were told at 8pm on Monday night that they would to switch to remote learning by 9am the next day and to organise provision for vulnerable and key worker pupils. They have spent the last 48 hours working tirelessly to put plans in place, despite the fact that on Sunday the PM was saying that schools would remain open.”
The schools watchdog previously announced they would be conducting “supportive” monitoring visits for schools with ‘‘inadequate’ and some ‘requires improvement’ gradings from January.
However following the closure of schools for the majority of pupils it is not clear the role Ofsted will play.