Ofsted guidance and information relating to coronavirus (COVID-19) for schools, early years, children's social care and further education and skills providers.
Parents and other members of the public
Please follow the advice from the Department of Health and Social Care, Public Health England and the Department for Education:
- information for the public
- temporarily closing educational settings
- vulnerable children and young people
- cancelling GCSEs, AS and A levels in 2020
All routine inspections suspended
We have suspended all routine inspections of schools, further education, early years and social care providers. The Secretary of State has allowed Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector to do this.
Urgent inspections where specific concerns have been raised can still go ahead. This will allow us to prioritise the immediate safety of children where necessary.
As far as we are able, we will continue to carry out our important regulatory work to help maintain social care provision for the most vulnerable children. We will operate as a proportionate and responsible regulator, in what we know are challenging times, focused on children’s safeguarding and well-being.
We are in daily contact with the Department for Education (DfE) to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak and its impact across education and social care.
We will not be publishing reports from our recent inspections of schools, further education and early years providers until they reopen as normal for all children/students. We will continue to publish a small number of reports from recent social care inspections.
Closures of schools, further education and early years providers
The DfE has announced that schools, further education and early years providers, including nurseries and childminders will close from Monday, except for children of key workers and vulnerable children.
The DfE is asking schools, colleges, nurseries, childminders and other registered childcare settings to remain open for children of critical workers and vulnerable children where they can.
There is further guidance from the DfE and Public Health England for:
- educational settings on COVID-19
- schools on free school meals
- residential educational settings on isolation
Children’s social care
All routine inspections have been suspended until further notice.
We reserve the right to inspect in emergency situations, for example when we receive complaints or whistle-blowing information that suggests children may be at risk of harm, or when we might want to visit in order to lift a restriction on the numbers of children who can live in a children’s home.
Regulation 44 inspections
We do not have the power to lift regulatory requirements. Legislative change is a matter for central government and, ultimately, parliament. We are in close contact with government officials as the situation develops.
We expect all providers to continuously risk assess their actions to reflect the risks that COVID-19 poses and to follow Public Health England’s advice. We expect people to think about alternative ways to keep in contact, supervise provision and maintain oversight, such as using telephone and Skype, while recognising the limitations of this approach.
We are, of course, sensitive to the challenges that all providers are facing. We will take a balanced and proportionate approach to regulation, taking account of how people have tried to satisfy regulatory requirements in these difficult circumstances.
As well as focusing on our regulatory work, we recognise that our staff might be able to help relieve some pressure across the wider system.
We are in touch with the DfE, Local Government Association and the Association of Directors of Children’s Services to see how this might best be coordinated.
Ofsted Inspectors (serving headteachers who carry out inspections on our behalf) have already returned to their schools.