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NEWS: Ofsted delays early years assurance inspections until after half term

Yesterday Ofsted announced that it will delay its return to inspections for all early years settings in England, which were originally due to begin this month.

Earlier this week we reported that assurance inspections would be delayed for childminder settings but go ahead in group-based nursery settings. Ofsted has updated its stance on this due to new government messaging instructing us all to "act as if you have the virus" and the practical challenges of deploying inspectors. Assurance inspections will now be delayed for all early years settings until after February half term 2021.

Whilst schools and further education providers will receive remote inspections from 25 January, Ofsted says that conducting inspections remotely in early years settings “will not provide the level of assurance” that the on-site visits provide.

Registered providers will continue to receive regulatory visits from Ofsted where concerns have been raised. These visits may take place on-site if necessary, depending on risk assessment and individual circumstances.

This change has been reflected in Ofsted’s rolling coronavirus update guidance, as well as PACEY’s FAQs.