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No Notice Ofsted Inspections!

Ofsted released the following announcement on their website yesterday:


Ofsted announces plans for no-notice inspection for schools

10 Jan 2012

Ofsted’s new Chief Inspector, Sir Michael Wilshaw, has announced plans to introduce no-notice inspections for all regular school inspections from September 2012.

Ofsted already undertakes unannounced inspections in a number of circumstances, including where concerns are raised about a school and for some satisfactory schools that do not show enough capacity to improve.

Speaking about the plans, Sir Michael Wilshaw HMCI, said: 

'Ofsted has been moving towards a position of unannounced school inspection over a period of years. I believe the time is now right for us to take that final step and make sure that for every school we visit inspectors are seeing schools as they really are in the corridors, classrooms and staff room. 

'With our new Parent View online questionnaire we can now make this change and have confidence that we can still consider the views of parents during inspections. 

For all pre-inspection support click here

'Ofsted already has considerable experience in undertaking unannounced inspections and we know it works. With this further change, parents and all those interested in what is happening in our schools can have absolute confidence in Ofsted’s findings.'

Since the first Ofsted school inspections in 1992 there has been a steady journey towards unannounced visits. Initially, schools received over a year’s notice of inspectors turning up. Over time this shifted to six to eight weeks’ notice and then, from 2005, around two days.

As part of the changes introduced in 2009, Ofsted consulted extensively on no-notice inspections and also piloted unannounced visits. We found a great deal of support for the move. At that time, however, we could not overcome the important issue of being able to get parents’ views as part of the process. With the introduction of our new Parent View online questionnaire last year, parents can now share their opinions of their child’s school at any time, making a move to no-notice inspections possible.

The details of how the changes will work will form part of a wider consultation on the future of inspection that will be announced in coming weeks.