An inspector calls…What schools need to know from September 2021
19 August 2021
The DfE have stated that routine inspections by both Ofsted and ISI will resume in September 2021.
Routine inspections were suspended during the Covid-19 pandemic, but a full program of routine inspections for maintained schools and academies will commence from September 2021.
For independent schools (excluding academies), Ofsted and the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) will return to their normal program of inspections from September 2021 and intend to complete their current, delayed cycle of standard inspections, in 2022.
Ofsted has announced that as of September 2021, inspections will include an assessment of how schools are tackling all forms of sexual harassment (including sexual harassment, online sexual abuse and sexual violence). Ofsted inspectors will now look at how schools and colleges are handling allegations of abuse, and what preventative measures – such as behaviour policies, pastoral support and a strong and well-taught relationship, sex and health education curriculum – are in place. Teachers should also be aware of the factors which can increase a child's vulnerability to sexual abuse and/or their reluctance to report such incidents, for example: mental ill-health; domestic abuse; additional needs; and/or groups which are at greater risk of exploitation.
Ofsted has also stated its aim to inspect every state school within the next 5 years. The knock-on effect of this is that, for schools which have not been inspected since the beginning of the pandemic, there will be an extension of up to 6 terms in the interval before their next inspection. However, Ofsted will continue to prioritise schools most in need of inspection, particularly those with the lowest Ofsted grades, as well as outstanding schools previously exempt from routine inspections that have gone the longest without a visit.
The new ISI framework, originally planned for implementation in 2022, has been delayed because of the pandemic. In June, the ISI issued an update to confirm that details of when the consultation and development of the new framework will recommence will be made available in due course.