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Early years inspections to resume on 4 May

By Rachel Lawlerchildren playing childminder

Graded Ofsted inspections for early years providers will resume on 4 May 2021, according to the latest update from the regulator.

Ofsted says that all inspections will be completed on site after this date, following “field work” to ensure that these can be carried out safely.

Inspectors will take a lateral flow test before arriving at a setting for inspection and interactions with parents and practitioners will be socially distanced where possible.

Some elements may be undertaken via videocall where necessary. Ofsted says this will only usually be used for speaking to parents/carers or leaders who are unable to attend the setting.

Providers who are experiencing active cases of Covid-19 at the time of inspection will be able to request a deferral.

After Easter, Ofsted says it will publish an updated inspection handbook taking into account the challenges of coronavirus, with “minor amends” where necessary.

In the meantime, Ofsted says it will continue to carry out urgent inspections where there are significant concerns about a provider.

Ofsted said: "We know that returning to full graded inspections is the right thing to do for early years providers. We have listened to those who have told us that they want a graded judgement, and we understand that some inspections are now overdue.

"Providers have told us that resuming routine inspections under the EIF is preferable as soon as it is safe to do so. We know that providers prefer to receive a graded overall effectiveness (OE) judgement following inspection and that providers use the OE judgements that we provide to give reassurance to parents, stimulate their business and support access to funding from local authorities."