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Ofsted: Plans from January 2021

Ofsted have now released plans for a phased return to inspection from January 2021. Further details are below, but in summary:

From January 2021:

  • Schools – assurance visits/monitoring inspections to resume.
  • Social care – Focused Visits to resume
  • SEND – interim visits with CQC to resume

From April 2021:

  • Schools – routine inspections to resume in summer term • Social care – short/full judgement inspections to resume
  • Ofsted are not planning to carry out graded inspections of education or social care providers before the summer term.

Maintained Schools and Academies:

  • From January 2021, Ofsted will resume monitoring inspections of schools judged inadequate at their previous inspection and some schools graded as requires improvement. These will not result in a grade.
  • Emergency inspections of schools will continue as they have done throughout the pandemic, in response to any serious concerns raised with Ofsted.
  • Routine inspections, which result in a school being awarded a new grade or being confirmed in its current grade, will resume in the summer term.

Further Education and Skills:

  • From January, Ofsted will resume monitoring visits to providers that would be monitored in normal times – in particular new providers and those graded requires improvement and inadequate.
  • Colleges that do not receive a monitoring visit may receive support and assurance visits. Safeguarding visits will continue in response to concerns raised about providers.
  • Full graded inspections will resume in the summer term.
  • Interim education visits to prisons will start in January, to support and challenge prisons to return to full programmes of education and skills activities following COVID-19 restrictions.

Early Years:

  • Ofsted will carry out a programme of assurance inspections from the start of the spring term. These inspections will confirm whether or not a provider is meeting the early years foundation stage (EYFS) requirements.
  • Assurance inspections will be proportionate and risk-based. Providers will be prioritised based on the length of time since their last inspection, and any other relevant information.
  • Routine graded inspections will resume in the summer term of 2021.

Area Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND):

  • From January Ofsted will resume joint interim visits with the Care Quality Commission. These visits aim to support improvement and will not result in a published letter or graded judgement.