Schools that have been graded “inadequate” by Ofsted due to concerns over safeguarding will be reinspected within three months of the initial visit, the inspectorate has announced as part of a series of changes to its work.
The changes, which come in response to the suicide of head teacher Ruth Perry after her school received an “inadequate” rating, will see a school’s rating improve following the second inspection if it “has been able to resolve the safeguarding concerns”, according to Ofsted.
Parents will also be informed of the new process after the initial inspection, inspectors say.
The reinspections will be introduced immediately.
Meanwhile, from September, Ofsted says it will offer schools “greater clarity about the threshold for effective versus ineffective safeguarding through our inspection handbook, as well as regular blogs and webinars”.
“We will also describe ineffective safeguarding more clearly in inspection reports, to help reassure parents and others that these judgements are not made lightly,” according to the inspectorate.
Responding to safeguarding changes introduced by Ofsted, Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said: “The revisions on safeguarding are a step in the right direction and reflect the need for a practical and common-sense approach where schools can quickly rectify any safeguarding gaps identified.”
However, she added that the full package of measures announced by Ofsted “do not go nearly far enough to address the deep concerns of teachers and leaders about the surveillance model of school inspection in England.”
The inspectorate has also launched a consultation on changes to its complaints procedure after leaders from across the sector, including early years, education and social care, branded it “ineffective”.
Proposals put forward in the consultation, which closes on 15 September, include plans to:
- Enhance on-site professional dialogue during inspections to help address any issues before the end of the inspection visit.
- Introduce a new opportunity for providers to contact Ofsted the day after an inspection if they have any unresolved concerns.
- Introduce new arrangements for finalising reports and considering formal challenges to inspection outcomes.
- Replace the current internal review process with a direct escalation to the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service for Ofsted (ICASO) and add a new periodic review of closed complaints, using external representatives from the sectors Ofsted inspects.
Purnima Tanuku, chief executive of National Day Nurseries Association (NDNA) said: “NDNA has been calling for the Ofsted complaints and appeals procedure to be overhauled for years, so we very much welcome this long-awaited consultation on proposed changes to handling complaints.
“Ofsted inspections need to be proportionate and effective, they should not create fear for practitioners. Inspectors must understand the challenges the sector is facing and work with them collaboratively.”
Increased Department for Education funding will also be made available to charity Education Support, to provide wellbeing help for school leaders, by March next year while head teachers have been offered “more information about the broad timing of their next inspection” through a blog posted on the inspectorate’s website.
Ofsted’s chief inspector Amanda Spielman said: “Since the sad death of Ruth Perry, there has been considerable debate around Ofsted’s work and I want to reassure people that we are listening to their concerns, and thinking carefully about how we can revise aspects of our work without losing our clear focus on the needs of children and their parents.”
Last week, CYP Now reported that children’s residential and foster care provider Anderida Adolescent Care has instructed staff to avoid engaging with Ofsted inspectors visiting children’s homes.News