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Covid: Ofsted urged to grant inspection deferrals for schools in 'crisis mode'

Ofsted is being urged to grant deferral requests from schools that find themselves in “crisis mode” due to the sharp increases in Covid-related absence of pupils and staff.

Given the huge disruption caused by increasing Covid infection in schools, leaders are urging England’s inspectorate to grant inspection deferrals on request.

Schools can currently request inspections be deferred, but the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) says the bar is “very high” and “isn’t suitable” in a pandemic situation. It has now written to Ofsted chief inspector Amanda Spielman urging action.

Inspections were suspended in March 2020 during the first school lockdown. Ofsted resumed all types of routine inspections this term and between September and the October half-term around 500 have taken place.

However, Covid-related absence in schools has been rising sharply throughout the autumn term. The latest figures show that on October 21, 248,000 children (3.2 per cent) were absent from school in England for Covid-related reasons – up from 209,000 (2.6 per cent) a fortnight previously (DfE, 2021).

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