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Unions want ESC to delay school inspections "until further notice"

Unions want ESC to delay school inspections

Friday 18 March 2022

Unions want ESC to delay school inspections "until further notice"

Friday 18 March 2022

Trade unions representing headteachers and teachers want independent inspections of schools in the Bailiwick to be postponed again while they continue to deal with a spike in cases of covid-19.

The National Association of Head Teachers (NAHT) said that inspections would be “a stressful and needless distraction for schools”.

The National Education Union (NEU) said the findings of inspections “would be largely meaningless” while schools are operating under the unusual circumstances of the pandemic.

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.


Pictured: States' schools have not been independently inspected since the summer before the outbreak of the covid-19 pandemic. 

As recently as 7 February, the Director of Education, Nick Hynes, said that plans were on track for Ofsted inspectors to be in the Bailiwick after the half term holiday and that there would be no further delays “save for any significant and unexpected change in circumstances across the islands”.

The rate of new infections is now at least three times higher than it was then. Schools are reporting marked increases in absence among students and staff. And yesterday the Committee reintroduced a range of rules and restrictions designed to limit the spread of the virus, including face masks for teachers in all schools and students in secondary schools and further education.

Rob Kelsall, National Secretary of the NAHT, said “this seems a sensible move from the States…in order to keep children, staff, families and the wider community safe – and to keep schools open and operating smoothly”.

But Mr Kelsall also called on the Committee and Ofsted “to extend their pause of inspection for schools…until further notice”.


Pictured: Many schools are experiencing high rates of absence and additional staff time is taken up trying to limit the spread of the virus. 

“Ofsted inspections are due to restart in Guernsey after Easter but, given today’s reinstation of covid measures, we question whether planned inspections should be going ahead,” he said.

“Not only are inspectors a potential vector for transmission when in-person events are banned, but inspection is a stressful and needless distraction for schools that are still experiencing significant disruption, with staff off sick, and are struggling to keep things going.”

The NEU said the time was not right for school inspections to resume.

A local representative of the union said: “I’ve had feedback from across the service – primary and secondary schools – and it is not thought that an Ofsted inspection would be value for money at the moment.

“The kind of feedback we would get would be largely meaningless because of the current situation in the island, due to us being short-staffed.

“We have drawn on every single supply teacher we can and a lot of them are elderly and retired and don’t want to be around covid.

“We don’t understand what Ofsted would offer us at the moment.”

Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen

Pictured: Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, President of the Committee for Education, Sport & Culture, said that her Committee does not want to impose another postponement on the resumption of school inspections.

The President of the Committee, Deputy Andrea Dudley-Owen, said that any school could request a delay to an inspection based on its circumstances at the time, but the Committee does not want to postpone all inspections unnecessarily. 

She said that "external inspection provides valuable and independent insight that is an essential part of any progressive education system".

Ofsted has carried out pilot inspections of a small number of schools in the Bailiwick to allow the inspectorate and schools to familiarise themselves with a new inspection framework which has replaced one used when Education Scotland was the inspectorate until 2018. But no school has had a full and published inspection by the new inspectorate or under the new framework.

Despite the disruption to inspections in States’ schools, Elizabeth College managed to go ahead with an external inspection by the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate in November, at a time when the rate of covid-19 infections was much lower than it is today.


ESC says inspections must resume to provide "independent insight"

Masks and bubbles back in schools 

Ofsted inspections still expected from next half term

ESC's new Ofsted school inspections will start before Christmas

Inspections delayed again - but ESC "remains committed to Ofsted"

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