Ofsted already nearly 2,000 inspections behind school target

Ofsted is nearly two thousand inspections off the pace of its target to inspect all schools by 2025, new figures suggest.

Data submitted to the Parliamentary education committee shows Ofsted carried out 4,814 inspections between April last year and August this year.

The watchdog got a £23 million funding boost in last year’s spending review to inspect all schools between April 2021 and July 2025.

Latest figures show there are 21,602 state schools. Reaching the target would equate to completing an average of 424 inspections a month over the four-year period.

Based on this method, Ofsted should have completed 6,784 inspections by August to keep up with the pace. It is 1,970 inspections (29 per cent) off course.

Chief inspector Amanda Spielman told MPs the backlog was because few schools were inspected in summer last year, with visits paused in December and reduced in January and February last year due to deferrals and fewer inspectors.

Spielman, who said during a hearing last month that “about 1,000” inspections had been lost because of Covid, said in the letter: “We are now accelerating our inspection cycle by recruiting more inspectors and increasing the number of inspections we carry out each year.

“We are currently on track to meet our commitment to inspect all schools, at least once, by July 2025.”

She previously told MPs that Omicron setbacks had been “factored into planning” to meet the commitment.

When asked for comment, Ofsted pointed Schools Week to Spielman’s comments in the letter.

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