Ofsted to inspect all schools by 2025 to give parents ‘up-to-date’ picture

·3-min read

Ofsted will inspect all schools and colleges by summer 2025 after receiving nearly £24 million in extra funding.

The Government has asked the watchdog to accelerate its inspections of schools and further education (FE) providers so parents have an “up-to-date picture” of the quality of education that children are receiving.

Ofsted says the extra £23.85 million in funding over the next three financial years will reduce the time taken to reach every school and college by a year.

It comes after headteachers have called for Ofsted inspections to be paused while schools continue to deal with effects of the coronavirus pandemic.

One school leaders’ union said the announcement felt “completely tone-deaf” amid the pressures that schools currently face.

Beginning with last term’s inspections, the watchdog has said all schools and FE providers will be inspected at least once by summer 2025.

All college inspections from September 2022 up to September 2025 will be full graded inspections and schools will continue to receive either graded or ungraded inspections depending on their circumstances.

Amanda Spielman, chief inspector of Ofsted, said: “Schools and colleges have worked tirelessly to teach and support children and learners, at a time when their education has been seriously disrupted.

“Children only get one chance at school. Everyone working in education must do everything they can to give this generation the best possible chance to fulfil its potential.

“Ofsted will play its part – by giving parents and learners up-to-date information, and by helping schools and colleges shape their plans.”

Education Secretary Nadhim Zahawi said: “Nobody underestimates the scale of the challenge schools, colleges and other education providers have experienced through the pandemic.

“But it has also provided an opportunity to build back better and fairer, doubling down on our mission to make sure every child has the opportunity to achieve their potential.

“Accelerating the rate of Ofsted inspections over the coming years will provide parents with an up-to-date picture and swifter recognition of the hard work of leaders and teachers.”

On Monday, charity Schools North East, which represents 1,150 schools in the region, called for Ofsted inspections to be suspended amid the pandemic.

It comes after the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) said Ofsted should defer inspections on request as it warned that it was unfair for schools to be inspected when they are in “crisis mode”.

Julie McCulloch, director of policy at ASCL, said: “We have to say that the Government has some strange ideas about the priority for education recovery.

“It isn’t Ofsted inspections that will help children to catch up with lost learning caused by the pandemic but ensuring that schools and colleges have sufficient funding from the Government to deliver recovery programmes at the scale required.”

She added: “At the moment, many schools and colleges are still dealing with the disruption caused by the pandemic, and the prospect of also having to deal with a visit from an inspection team isn’t particularly helpful.”

Nick Brook, deputy general secretary of school leaders’ union NAHT, said: “Given the pressure schools are currently under and the recent calls to pause inspections this term, the announcement today of more to come feels completely tone-deaf.

“Schools have adapted with the times to respond to the impact of Covid, but Ofsted appear to be stuck in the past – dusting off a pre-pandemic inspection framework with little recognition that the world around them has changed.

“We are still a very long way from business as usual in schools. Ofsted seems to be unwilling to properly take into account the very significant challenges schools are still facing, as well as the impact Covid has had.”

Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union (NEU), added: “Government ministers are showing, yet again, that they have no understanding of the exhaustion and stress felt by teachers and leaders.

“Inspection adds hugely to the stress they face coping with high rates of Covid infection in schools and college and with an inspectorate which has failed to understand, or appreciate, that Covid is still causing huge problems in our education system.”

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