This edition of Ofsted’s inspection update is the first version that includes early education – this is because Ofsted will now be including relevant guidance and information on inspecting early education as well as schools. It focusses on Ofsted’s interim visits, plans for returning to regular inspections, and whether the EYFS reforms will affect inspections.
This article outlines what has been highlighted to inspectors in the update, ensuring you are up-to-date with the latest on how Ofsted is conducting inspections.
Interim visits to schools
At the beginning of September, Ofsted published its operational note for inspectors carrying out interim visits to maintained schools and academies in the Autumn term. The update reiterates that these visits are not inspections.
All schools graded ‘inadequate’ will be visited, along with a sample of schools across all other grades, and a representative sample of schools across Ofsted’s regions.
The visits will require inspectors to take a different approach to usual inspection, as the aim is to seek support for the school rather than judge them. As a result, inspectors have been undertaking training in preparation to carry out the visits in Autumn.
Returning to routine inspections
Ofsted is currently planning for its intended return to routine inspections from January 2021 – this date is being kept under review in collaboration with the DfE.
The challenges of inspecting schools whilst coronavirus (COVID-19) measures are still in place are also being explored.
In July 2020, the DfE published the reforms for the EYFS framework – the guidance has been produced for early adopter schools that have chosen to use this framework before it becomes statutory in September 2021.
The DfE also published the updated ‘Development Matters’ guidance, which early adopter schools may find useful. This document offers a top-level view of how children develop and learn, and can guide professional judgement.
When inspecting early adopter schools, inspectors will be aware of the changed curriculum and assessment expectations set out in the new document, but will not change their approach to inspection. This is because ‘The education inspection framework’ (EIF) looks at progress through the curriculum and inspectors will not expect to see schools’ internal assessment data.
- To find our more about Ofsted’s interim visits in the Autumn, read our article.
- We have also published new versions of our Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) Profile 2020 Handbook - 3 Minute Read and Early Years Policy in line with the DfE’s EYFS early adopter framework. These documents can help ensure early adopter schools are compliant with the new guidance.
Ofsted (2020) ‘Schools and early education inspection update: October 2020 special edition’ <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/schools-and-early-education-inspection-update-academic-year-2020-to-2021> [Accessed: 1