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Ofsted suspends routine inspections

By Rachel Lawler Ofsted inspections halted

Ofsted has suspended routine inspections following an escalation in the UK government’s response to the coronavirus outbreak.

The secretary of state has given permission for all routine inspections to be temporarily paused, allowing them to focus on respoding to concerns and the registration of childcare services.

Inspections triggered by urgent, specific concerns will still go ahead.

Temporary halt
The move comes shortly after the Alliance contacted chief inspector Amanda Spielman to ask for a temporary halt on inspections while early years settings deal with the coronavirus outbreak.

Last week, Ofsted confirmed that providers due an inspection would be able to ask to defer in the event of “exceptional circumstances” related to the outbreak.

It has now updated its policy on this, following updated guidance from the Prime Minister on social distancing.

Welcome update
Neil Leitch, chief executive of the Alliance, commented: “We welcome Ofsted's decision to pause all routine inspections in light of the coronavirus outbreak.

"Providers are having to adapt to extraordinary circumstances and now is clearly not to best time to judge them on the quality of their provision. What's more, given the latest government guidance, asking unnecessary external visitors to enter settings is not appropriate. 

"We trust that Ofsted will keep the sector updated on any further changes going forward."

Amanda Spielman, chief inspector at Ofsted, said: "I’m grateful for the secretary of state’s permission to suspend routine inspections. It’s clearly the right thing to do when teachers and social workers are under pressure as a result of the coronavirus outbreak. We all need to support them in their work.

“We will monitor what’s happening across education and social care and we will reserve the right to inspect where we believe the safety of children could be at risk, or we have other serious concerns. We will also continue to register and regulate social care providers, childminders and nurseries, so that these vital services can continue to support children and their families.”

Find out more
See the latest information on the coronavirus for early years providers
Alliance calls for temporary halt on Ofsted inspections