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updated on 15 February 2021
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Stay up to date with all things Ofsted, including its plans for remote monitoring inspections in the spring term.

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We update this article whenever we hear something new. Click 'save for later' at the top of this article and we'll let you know when it's been updated.

15 Feb 2021: remote monitoring inspections after half term will last 1 day, not 2

Ofsted has confirmed that after half term, remote visits for 'inadequate' and 'requires improvement' schools will normally last 1 day (before half term it was 2 days). They'll still involve 2 inspectors like before.

2 Feb 2021: remote inspections to continue until 8 March at the earliest

Ofsted has said it'll carry out all planned inspection work remotely until 8 March at the earliest (previously this was 'until after February half term' - see our 13 January update below for more detail).

Early years assurance visits are now paused until 8 March at the earliest.

27 Jan 2021: pupil motivation for remote learning is a 'significant concern', Ofsted study finds

Ofsted has published a report on remote learning, which has found that parents and school leaders are significantly concerned about pupils' motivation and engagement. The report also highlights areas of development for leaders to focus on in the spring term, like feedback and assessment.

Read the full study here.

21 Jan 2021: remote monitoring inspections will focus on your education offer during coronavirus, but not school improvement 

Ofsted has updated its guidance on how it'll carry out remote monitoring inspections of 'inadequate' and 'requires improvement' schools this half term. The remote visits will focus on your provision of education in the current circumstances - they'll no longer focus on school improvement as previously planned. 

You'll get up to 48 hours’ notice of an inspection, and may ask for a deferral.

We've updated our article on Ofsted monitoring inspections in spring 2021 to give you an overall picture of what's happening this term.

13 Jan 2021: Ofsted announces remote monitoring inspections

Ofsted has announced that it'll carry out remote monitoring inspections of 'inadequate' and 'requires improvement' schools this half term, instead of conducting these visits in person as previously planned. The non-graded remote visits will:

  • Begin on 25 January (they were previously meant to resume on 18 January) and last until 8 March at the earliest (they were previously meant to be remote 'until after the February half term')
  • Not cover the full scope of a monitoring inspection - see the 21 January announcement above for more detail 

Ofsted will continue on-site inspections if it has significant concerns, such as about safeguarding or a failure to provide education to children. 

Early years assurance visits will be paused until 8 March at the earliest (they were previously meant to resume after the February half term) so that they can be carried out in person.

11 Jan 2021: Ofsted announces return of non-graded monitoring inspections, and publishes remote learning best practice guidance 

Non-graded monitoring inspections will resume for 'inadequate' and some 'requires improvement' schools, Ofsted has said. These will focus on how well schools are delivering remote education.

Inspectors will also consider any complaints from parents about remote education, though parents are encouraged to raise concerns with the school first.

Ofsted publishes remote learning best practice guidance

Using findings from its interim visits and research, Ofsted has published a short guide to remote education during coronavirus. It includes tips on what works well, and addresses common myths around remote learning.

Oct 2020: Ofsted to remove the 'outstanding' exemption

Ofsted announced it'll restart inspections on 'outstanding' schools, following a consultation earlier this year on removing the 'outstanding' exemption. 

This will come into force after legislation is passed, and means that:

  • Inspections on 'outstanding' schools will begin when regular inspections restart
  • All formerly exempt schools will get an initial section 5 or section 8 inspection within 6 years (Ofsted will prioritise schools that have gone the longest since their last inspection, starting with those that haven't been inspected for a decade or longer)
    • Schools that were last inspected before September 2015 will get an initial section 5 inspection
    • Schools that were last inspected after September 2015 will likely get a section 8 inspection

See further details of the consultation outcome here.

Jul 2020: Ofsted will carry out 'visits, not inspections'

Ofsted announced its plans to carry out 'non-judgmental' visits in the autumn term to understand how you're welcoming children back into school. 

It will visit all 'inadequate' schools and a sample of schools across the other Ofsted grades. 

Routine inspections are still suspended until January 2021 (at the earliest). 

Mar 2020: Ofsted has stopped all routine inspections 

As of 17 March 2020, Ofsted has stopped all routine inspections for schools, further education and early years providers. 

It will still go ahead with urgent inspections where specific concerns have been raised. 

Feb 2020: Curriculum transition period extended

Ofsted has extended the transition period for curriculum inspection arrangements for another year.

The new arrangements will apply until July 2021.

Read more about how the transition period works here.

New Ofsted report on financial pressures in schools may lead to further inspection changes

Ofsted has published a report into how schools respond when they're under financial pressure, and the impact their decisions make on the quality of education they provide.

On the back of this research, Ofsted says it will carry out further research into:

  • Whether it's helpful for inspectors to look at financial indicators when they inspect schools
  • What kinds of conversations with leaders, governors and trustees may help inform judgements on leadership and management and quality of education

Read the full report here.

Jan 2020: Ofsted launches consultation on removing the 'outstanding' exemption

Ofsted is proposing that 'outstanding' schools will receive a section 8 inspection every 4 or 5 years. 

The consultation has now closed and Ofsted is reviewing the responses.

Ofsted publishes report on 'stuck' schools

The report looks at the challenges faced by these schools compared to 'unstuck' schools, and how the wider education system can help them to improve. 

'Stuck' schools are those that have had 4 or more full inspections where they were rated less than 'good'.

'Unstuck' schools are schools that were previously rated less than 'good' for 4 or more inspections, but have subsequently improved.

Read the full report here.

Sep 2019: Ofsted may rate schools on financial management

Schools Week reports that the DfE has announced that it is currently working with Ofsted to determine whether inspections might include judgements on financial management and oversight. The discussions on this are in the early stages, and no changes to inspection are planned immediately. 

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