Ofsted dismisses calls to temporarily suspend early years inspections due to Covid
Wednesday, January 5, 2022
As Nursery World reported yesterday, the NDNA wrote to Ofsted calling for routine early years inspections to be put on hold because of ‘unsustainable’ levels of staff absences, however the inspectorate has now confirmed inspections will continue as normal.
The NDNA wrote to the inspectorate to ask for the temporary pause on routine inspections to be extended by a few weeks while nurseries cope with the latest wave of the pandemic.
Ofsted has now confirmed however it will not put inspections on hold and will continue as normal.
The inspectorate temporarily paused early years inspections temporarily in December until the start of the spring term.
NDNA’s chief executive Purnima Tanuku said, ‘With providers telling us they are facing unprecedented staff absence rates, they will be very disappointed that Ofsted hasn’t taken these concerns on board and agreed to pause routine inspection activity.
'It does not make sense that Ofsted halted routine inspections in the run-up to Christmas but have reinstated them now, albeit with some mitigation measures in place, when Covid cases and consequently absences are at a record high.
'Knowing that Ofsted could potentially ring just puts additional pressure on already stressed managers who may feel worried about asking for a deferral.'
An Ofsted spokesperson said, 'As a temporary measure, we are not asking our Ofsted inspectors who are also serving practitioners to undertake inspections, so they can remain in their settings. Naturally this will reduce our activity. However, our inspection programme has not been suspended. We will continue to prioritise places where we have concerns, returning to inadequate and requires improvement providers, those we didn’t see in the last cycle, and those newly registered and not yet seen. We will also carry on with our registration and approvals work if providers want us too.
'We would encourage anyone who feels unable to go ahead with a planned inspection to let us know at the point they are notified about the inspection. We will look at requests for a deferral favourably and sensitively, unless, as you would expect, we have urgent safeguarding concerns.'