Schools have been waiting months for Ofsted visits as former inspectors claim job losses have cut the number of inspections that can be carried out.
Analysis shows there have been just 585 full Ofsted inspections this term. This compares with 1,642 in the same period last year.
At the end of the last academic year, the watchdog lost half its “additional inspectors” after a tough new assessment process moved towards in-house inspection teams. Previously, it contracted inspectors from third parties.
A former Ofsted additional inspector, who wished to remain anonymous, told Schools Week: “Ofsted has lost some incredible talent and long-serving inspectors and they are obviously starting to feel the pinch.
“I know of a number of schools who are way outside the window for [a full] inspection. There is one that has been waiting since April.”
Ofsted launched a recruitment drive at the end of the last school year, stating it wanted 70 per cent of its inspectors to be serving headteachers and senior leaders.
Schools Week was told that additional inspectors are being bombarded with requests to take part in future inspections.
The former inspector said: “I know of one inspector who was asked to commit to 120 days of work, instead of 32 [the standard for an additional inspector].”
Ofsted has also undertaken 100 so-called “short inspections” this term. Schools rated as good now receive one-day short inspections every three years.
Before the change, schools could go five years without inspection.
An Ofsted spokesperson said that the lower overall number of inspections could “in part” be attributed to their introduction.
Even taking these into account, however, the number dramatically lags behind last year.
Ofsted also said it scheduled fewer inspections this autumn to manage the transition to its new framework in September.
But Colin Richards (pictured), a former inspector, told Schools Week: “The new framework is not so revolutionary that it would have such a major effect on the numbers now taking place.”
An Ofsted spokesperson said: “We are confident we have enough capacity . . . to carry out the inspections required over the course of this year.”
Schools Week will publish a full analysis of this term’s Ofsted inspections on January 8.