Ofsted has announced that interim inspections of registered early years providers in England will resume from 1 September.
Since stopping all inspection visits in March 2020, Ofsted has continued its regulatory work and, as part of a phased return to routine inspection are planning to carry out interim visits from 1 September 2020. An interim visit is not an inspection and will not result in an inspection grade. If appropriate, however, inspectors can use regulatory or enforcement actions.
Inspectors undertaking interim visits will visit providers that are currently judged less than good and that had safeguarding and welfare actions raised at their last inspection.
They will select settings for visits where:
- the overall effectiveness grade of requires improvement or inadequate (with actions) was given at the last inspection
- the judgement for the last inspection carried out under Annex A of the Early years inspection handbook was not met with actions
- actions were set at the last inspection for a breach of any safeguarding and welfare requirements
- the re-inspection date for these providers may have passed due to COVID-19, or the re-inspection may be due before routine inspections are due to re-start.
During an interim visit, the inspector will not be checking whether the provider has met learning and development requirement actions set at the last inspection. This is to allow providers time to get back to normal following the period of uncertainty caused by COVID-19. Until 25 September 2020, providers should use ‘reasonable endeavours’ to meet the requirements of section 1 of the early years foundation stage (EYFS). Section 2 of the EYFS is disapplied. After 25 September 2020, providers must meet the learning and development requirements in full.
There is full guidance on the format of the interim visit and how to prepare for it in an Operational Note published by Ofsted.
Routine inspections are due to resume in January 2021.