The President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture has quickly rejected calls from two trade unions for another delay before Ofsted starts inspections of schools in the Bailiwick.
Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen said last night that her Committee's policy remains "that there would not be any further whole-system delay to external inspections" despite the current spike in cases of covid-19.
"We of course recognise and are very grateful for the ongoing commitment of staff working in all education settings and we recognise, like many others working in our community, they have been under pressure for some considerable time," said Deputy Dudley-Owen, pictured top.
"For this reason, any request from a setting seeking to delay an Ofsted inspection, due to their specific circumstances, would be considered very carefully.
"We do, though, have to recognise that external inspection provides valuable and independent insight that is an essential part of any progressive education system."
Pictured: The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture yesterday reintroduced a range of rules and restrictions designed to limit the spread of covid-19, including face masks for teachers in all schools and students in secondary schools and further education.
A local representative of the National Education Union (NEU) yesterday told Express that the findings of inspections “would be largely meaningless” while schools are operating under the unusual circumstances of another spike in cases of covid-19.
And Rob Kelsall, National Secretary of the National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT), said that restarting inspections after Easter would be “a stressful and needless distraction for schools”.
Deputy Dudley Owen was unimpressed with the union's words.
"I cannot agree with the NAHT that an external inspection of any of our settings could reasonably be described as a needless distraction," she said. "Especially when we have not had the benefit of external inspections for so long."
Schools have not been independently inspected since before Ofsted was appointed as the inspectorate from September 2019. Since then, covid-19 has caused the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture repeatedly to postpone the resumption of inspections. The latest postponement was in January.
Pictured: The Committee for Education, Sport & Culture is rejecting calls from two unions to postpone school inspections again.
"When we announced in January that we were delaying Ofsted inspections for a second time, we highlighted an important element of the new inspection framework which provides a mechanism whereby any settings that receive a notification of external inspection are able to request a delay to their inspection based on their individual circumstances at the time," said Deputy Dudley-Owen.
"We confirmed then that it was our intention that there would not be any further whole-system delay to external inspections in Guernsey and Alderney, due to the presence of this mechanism within the new framework."
The NAHT also said that inspectors visiting local schools from England were "a potential vector for transmission" of covid-19.
But Deputy Dudley-Owen said the Committee was "very confident that appropriate measures can be put in place to mitigate the risks of onwards transmission of covid during any inspection".
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