Ofsted is planning a phased return to inspections. Key issues emerging from today’s meeting included:
- Ofsted will not carry out graded short or full inspections until later in 2021. A return to short or full inspections will be taken forward in a proportionate, sensitive and practical way, taking prevailing conditions into account.
- To support a return to short and full inspections, Ofsted will be undertaking some pilot inspections to determine whether the EIF and the handback need to be tweaked or adapted in light of Covid. Six of these are taking place in the NW (24 nationally) in April and May. It is unlikely full inspections will take place until these are completed
- Ofsted will resume New Provider Monitoring Visits from 15 March onwards
- Progress monitoring visits to providers who have received a monitoring visit previously but who are awaiting a full inspection will cease from 15 March, unless there are safeguarding concerns or a perceived breakdown in leadership and management
- Monitoring Visits will be undertaken by two HMIs. Ofsted Inspectors will only participate where a specialist inspector is required
- All inspections will happen in a Covid safe way. The lead inspector will discuss this in the pre-inspection call to understand the situation prior to visit. Inspectors will follow guidelines and take Covid tests prior to the monitoring visit. Results of lateral flow tests will be shared with the provider being inspected to assuage any concerns.
- Some elements of New Provider Monitoring Visits will be taken forward on-site. New Provider Monitoring Visits will involve some face-to-face / on-site work as well as remote work.
Safeguarding, mental health and well being of learners and provider staff will be a continued theme of Ofsted work moving forward. Mental health, from a raft of provider visits, has been flagged up as a huge issue during Covid. Ofsted will be keen to see how providers have adapted support and the curriculum to help learners look after their mental health, remain in learning and achieve.