Last reviewed 9 July 2020

As schools reopen for all, there is an important role for Ofsted, according to HM Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman.

“It will be helpful for parents, Government and the wider public to get some insight on how schools and other providers are bringing children back into formal education after such a long time away,” she went on.

This means that inspectors need to “meet schools where they are” so, while routine inspections will remain suspended, with a plan to resume in January, Ofsted will be carrying out ‘visits’ to schools and colleges during the Autumn term.

“Our visits will look at how schools and colleges are getting pupils back up to speed after so long at home,” Ms Spielman explained. “And we will help them through collaborative conversations, without passing judgement – this isn’t inspection by stealth.”

The visits will not be graded, she continued.

The outcomes of Ofsted’s discussions with school leaders will be published in a short letter so that parents can understand what steps are being taken to help children back into full-time education.

The visits will be piloted with volunteer schools and colleges from September, with the full programme starting from October.

The Chief Inspector emphasises that vital regulatory work in children’s social care and early years has continued throughout lockdown, even though regular inspections have been suspended.

Visits will be made to nurseries and childminders during the Autumn to monitor progress and regulatory standards, particularly looking at those where Ofsted has concerns, but including a wider sample.

It will also be visiting local authorities and children’s social care providers, including children’s homes, to check on the experience and progress of children needing protection or care.

These visits will not be graded but, if inspectors have serious concerns, Ofsted will use its enforcement powers.