Coronavirus: Ofsted suspends all routine school inspections

Ofsted has suspended all routine school inspections after coming under pressure to act in light of the growing coronavirus emergency.

The inspectorate had come under intense pressure from trade unions over the weekend to call off non-urgent inspections of schools in England.

This intensified on Monday (March 16) when Wales’ inspectorate Estyn acted to suspend routine school inspections in order to help schools stay open. In Scotland, inspectorate Education Scotland has also paused inspection visits.

Ofsted had said on Friday (March 13) that it was “business and usual”, before publishing advice for schools on how to apply to defer their planned inspection because of coronavirus if necessary.

However, this afternoon (Tuesday, March 17), Ofsted confirmed that education secretary Gavin Williamson had given permission for the temporary suspension of all routine inspections of schools, further education, early years and social care providers. Urgent inspections where specific concerns have been raised, such as for safeguarding, can still go ahead.

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