The Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) and the NAHT have written to Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, Ofsted to express collective disappointment at the inspectorate's proposed autumn term visits to schools
This follows Ofsted releasing further details on the ‘visits’ inspectors will be carrying out in ‘around 1200’ schools across England during the autumn term. Ofsted have insisted these visits are not in any way designed to inspect schools, and “aim to tell parents, government and the public about how schools are managing the return to full education of their pupils”. But the letter expresses the huge concern shared by ASCL, the NAHT and also the NGA regarding the inevitable extra pressure these visits will place on schools.
The one-day visits will be based around a series of “open-ended questions that allow inspectors to understand the current position of the school” While not an ‘inspection’, the visit will result in a published ‘outcome letter’ outlining what inspectors have found. A series of pilots are set to take place in September before the visits, which will include a sample of schools across all Ofsted grades, including all inadequate schools, get underway from 28 September.
While the visits will not result in a graded judgement, or have any impact on the school's current Ofsted grade, they come at a time when schools are trying to focus on managing safety controls, identifying learning gaps, and providing pupils with appropriate support. There is disappointment that Ofsted chose not to take up the suggestion of treating these visits as purely research visits which might have provided intelligence to the sector without the need for a letter at all.