Ofsted has published further details regarding how their ‘interim visits’ will work over the Autumn period. The regulator explained that these will not reflect their routine inspections nor will they result in a judgemental grade. Following an announcement made in July, where Ofsted stated there would be a phased return to routine inspections, following a pause to this activity as a result of COVID-19, full inspections are set to resume in January 2021. When do the visits start? September 28th until to the end of December 2020. What’s the purpose? Ofsted states these visits are to help learners, parents, employers and the government to ‘understand how providers are meeting the needs of students and apprentices in this period, including learners with high needs and those with special educational needs and disabilities.’ These visits will not change Ofsted grades, however a small report will be published to share the steps being taken to enable learners to resume a full programme of education or training. If an inspection does raise significant concerns however, this may prompt an early full inspection or monitoring visit. How long will the visit last and will I get notice? The interim Ofsted visit will last two working days with a notice period of at least 2 days. If a provider wishes to defer the visit, this should be requested ‘in accordance with our deferral policy.’ What will the interim visits explore? The inspectors will explore three themes:
- What actions are leaders taking to ensure they provide an appropriate curriculum to meet the reasonable needs of learners and stakeholders. What have they adapted due to the current circumstances?
- What steps are leaders, managers and other staff taking to ensure the approaches for knowledge building and skills are appropriate to meet the needs of learners?
- How are leaders ensuring learners are safe and well informed of potential risks, including from online sources?