Ofsted has confirmed it will undertake school and FE provider visits “remotely” during the national lockdown.

In a Twitter post this evening, the inspectorate said the programme of autumn visits across schools, colleges and other FE providers will be done remotely from Thursday.

The post added: “During the national lockdown we will undertake our work remotely where we can – only going on site where it is necessary to do so, or in response to urgent concerns.”

The watchdog has faced resistance from unions over its visits, where inspectors visit mostly ‘inadequate’ and ‘requires imporvement’ providers to talk to leaders about their provision during the pandemic. While grades aren’t awarded, the watchdog does publish letters summarising the visit.

Full inspections are due to restart in January, but it’s not clear whether that intention will remain following this weekend’s announcement of a full national lockdown during November.

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  1. Breaking news! The new Ofsted mantra is announced –

    The UK is in freefall on all fronts. The jobless total is heading towards figures last seen in the three day week era of the 70s. Schools and Colleges are struggling to provide any kind of joined up learning, Independent training providers are downsizing at best and closing altogether at worst, and what do Ofsted do?
    Inform all those in scope that their visits will be carried out remotely. This statement from an audit body that provides little in the way of progressive or motivational reporting when the inspections are carried out face to face!

    What about – ‘there will be no Ofsted visits, in person or remotely, until the health of the nation is secured.’

    But no one is going to say that………………………..ever.

    • Phil Hatton

      Ofsted is an arm of the government/DFE Philip, with very little in the way of autonomy [inspecting without fear or favour is a moto in name only]. There are a lot of things that could be done remotely in terms of trying to identify good practice across the sector, for example, in safeguarding, supporting mental health [staff and learners], preparing for T levels, promoting high standards of practical work from home [not as highlighted by FE Week, painting the nails of a prosthetic foot that allows no consultation or real preparation – made a nice photo but made many people very angry that an Ofsted inspector thought it good practice – there will be a real person somewhere that you could practice on!!] by setting competitions in areas such as beauty, catering and hairdressing, etc. Face-to-face inspections need to be put back to 1st March at the very earliest. Ofsted is dithering like Boris rather than being responsive to the needs of the sector.

  2. richard moore

    Ofsted interim visits seem largely a waste of time to me and the subsequent reports are very thin and not of much use to anyone really. How great it would have been to be able to read about specific areas of good practice in detail from the colleges and providers visited – so much more useful to the sector. There is no doubt providers enjoy talking to inspectors in a non-threatening environment as opposed to an inspection but it seems like a real lost opportunity for Ofsted to provide so much more value for money in these strange times.

  3. What exactly was the purpose of these visits? Visits post March have managed to say absolutely nothing in their pages of waffle. “Staff say…”, “Teachers believe…”, what a waste of everyone’s time and public money. Either inspect and evaluate or don’t bother. This middle ground is absolutely pointless except as a marketing tool for Ofsted to tweet sycophantic vignettes from heads about how delighted they were not to have received the usual mauling. These staged recordings are quite pathetic. It’s about time that someone completed a cost-benefit analysis of Ofsted. From what I can see, the tax payer receives as much benefit as they do valuable information – none whatsoever.