Ofsted autumn term 2020: what to expect

The way schools have had to adjust their approach to, well, almost everything during COVID restrictions has been beyond commendable.

Ofsted inspections have not been immune to change either, with inspections put on hold due to recent events. But the Department for Education has announced a “phased return to inspections” from September 2020.

So what does this mean? How will they be conducted? And most importantly, how can your school, in a year of many changes, make sure it’s prepared for a very different type of Ofsted inspection?

In this blog post, we’re discussing what the new Ofsted visits mean for your school, so you know what to expect before Christmas. 

What will the Ofsted visits focus on and which schools are being visited?

Ofsted inspections won’t return to normal until January 2021, but what does that mean for schools this autumn? Well, the phased return to inspections is already underway, with interim school visits currently taking place, but a full rollout is expected in October.

Because of COVID, these interim visits will take place in schools previously graded ‘inadequate’ or ‘requires improvement’. But it’s not just those schools who will be checked up on; a sample of other schools graded ‘good’ and ‘outstanding’ will also be visited.

Although it’s not much time, your school will be given up to a day’s notice to prepare for your Ofsted visit. 

During the interim visits:

  • Ofsted will identify the barriers your school is facing – and has faced – in its return to education
  • they will look at the curriculum and how it is meeting the reasonable needs of learners and stakeholders
  • they will also look at the approach you’re using to develop your students’ knowledge and skills
  • and, of course, your safeguarding arrangements


The visits are not inspections under the education inspection framework (EIF)

So, what does this mean for your school?

  • they will use documents or records you already have
  • the visit will not be graded, and progress will not be judged
  • they will focus on your response to COVID
  • they will carry out a general review of policies


What happens after my visit?

As this is not a routine inspection, state-funded schools will not receive an inspection grade. The Ofsted officer will publish a brief letter outlining the context of the visit, and next steps. 

For further guidance and to keep up-to-date with any announcements, visit gov.uk


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