Ofsted releases updated inspection guidance

Ofsted has released its guidance on inspections for September 2021, with updates on the COVID-19 transitional period, inspection intervals following the pandemic, and harmful sexual behaviour.

With regards to curriculum catch-up after the COVID-19 restrictions, it says that when Ofsted is inspecting, it needs to consider whether leaders are using strategies that are having a positive impact on pupils’ learning. It says leaders need to consider how they will identify, and then address, gaps in pupils’ knowledge, as a "blanket approach to all subjects and phases is unhelpful".

With regards to sexual behaviour, it says that "even when there are no specific reports of sexual harassment, schools and colleges must assume that it is taking place and plan to address it accordingly."

It says "We will expect schools and colleges to have created a culture where sexual abuse and harassment are unacceptable and never tolerated. They will have established an environment where staff support pupils to report any concerns about harmful sexual behaviour and where pupils can feel confident that they will be taken seriously."

The guidance also makes it clearer about the definition of "off rolling".

It says: "There have been some cases when off-rolling, according to our definition, has been identified, and lead inspectors have not specifically mentioned the term ‘off-rolling’ in reports. Some schools have issued press releases stating that off-rolling was not found because Ofsted did not use those words. We do not want to leave any ambiguity, because we act in the interests of pupils and parents. Therefore, we are introducing standard wording for any inspection that finds off-rolling."

Read the full inspection guidance here.

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