'Real test' of Ofsted reforms will be 'on the ground' in schools

Ofsted inspections can now be paused for up to five working days in “exceptional circumstances” – including if the headteacher is distressed and requires additional support.
Image: Adobe Stock

On Friday (January 19), the inspectorate published new guidance detailing the circumstances in which pauses of one to five days might take place.

It came as the schools watchdog formally responded to the Prevention of Future Deaths report issued after the inquest into the death of headteacher Ruth Perry.

Among a number of actions, Ofsted has also pledged to "explore" making safeguarding a standalone judgement, “decoupled” from the leadership and management grade to reduce the risk that otherwise good schools are graded inadequate for easily fixed safeguarding issues.

School inspections restarted this week after being suspended to allow for emergency mental health training for inspectors. Ofsted has promised that all lead inspectors will have undergone this training and so should be able to "recognise signs of distress in those they meet and know how to respond". Ofsted promised the coroner that inspections will be carried out with "professionalism, courtesy, empathy and respect".

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