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NEWS: Ofsted announces a phased return to inspections in 2021

Ofsted has today set out its plans for a phased return to inspections of education and childcare providers in England in 2021.

This will begin with a programme of assurance inspections starting in the spring term of 2021, which will confirm whether a provider is meeting the early years foundation stage (EYFS) requirements. These assurance inspections will be “proportionate and risk-based” and will be prioritised based on length of time since a provider’s last inspection amongst other factors.

Full routine graded inspections will not return for early years providers until the summer term which begins in  April 2021.

Click here to read Ofsted’s updated guidance on Covid-19

Helen Donohoe, Policy Advisor at PACEY comments:
“We recognise that Ofsted has the difficult task of balancing the risk of coronavirus transmission with the need to inspect early years settings, particularly those that are overdue their first full inspection.

The interim inspections in spring will provide assurance to parents that settings are meeting the early years foundation stage requirements, as well as identify where providers are needing additional support to achieve this. 

PACEY understands that not receiving a graded inspection will be frustrating for some providers, but we would like to stress that this is only a short-term situation before the full graded inspections return in the summer term. It’s important to note that the assurance inspections will not ‘restart the clock’. So, the waiting times for those providers due a full graded inspection will not be affected.”

PACEY continues to work actively with Ofsted to help support its return to routine inspections.

We will be supporting our members to prepare for the interim assurance inspections with new resources launching soon.