Ofsted inspections are being halted to “remove unnecessary burdens” on schools during the coronavirus pandemic, the education secretary has announced.
Gavin Williamson said he had instructed chief inspector Amanda Spielman to postpone all routine checks on schools, further education, early years and children’s social care providers.
Tuesday’s decision follows pressure from a number of teachers’ unions, including the National Education Union, which said it was “unacceptable” for inspections to be going ahead.
In a video posted on Twitter, Williamson said: “I know that staff shortages are presenting teachers and headteachers with great challenges and I want to say how deeply grateful I am for their civic and community leadership.
“I also want to remove unnecessary burdens to help schools to cope.
“Given the pressures on our school leaders and their staff, it is only right that Ofsted temporarily suspends its routine inspection timetable.
“This will help schools to focus on their core functions at an already very difficult time.
“I’ve therefore instructed the chief inspector, who is in complete agreement, to suspend all routine inspections.”
On Monday, the Welsh education inspectorate announced that it was suspending inspections until further notice.
Estyn’s chief inspector, Meilyr Rowlands, said halting routine checks would allow staff to “focus fully” on the well-being of their pupils, staff and families.
School inspections have been halted in Scotland until the Easter break to allow teachers to focus on their staff and students, according to a spokesman for Education Scotland.
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop