Coronavirus

Rolling Information for Schools / Parents / Pupils

This page will be kept updated

Our school inspections have been deferred due to the Coronavirus pandemic.  We will not be publishing reports during this time. 

For schools:

Part completed inspections

If you were inspected recently and have completed the FAC process, your inspection report will be shared with you, the DfE, your association and Ofsted but it will not be published by us at the moment; nor are you required to publish it at this time.  However, if you would like to do so, you may.  Once we know when normal service will be resumed, we will give you a date by which you will have to publish the report, and we will publish two weeks after that, as usual. 

For inspections that have already taken place, but have not yet been through FAC we will continue with this process.  We realise that schools may not be able to respond swiftly to the FAC so we ask that it be completed within 6 weeks, with extensions possible (please email delivery@isi.net).

School closures and re-opening

The Coronavirus Act 2020 contains provisions allowing for temporary closure of educational institutions, including independent schools, and childcare.

A temporary closure direction is a direction that requires the responsible body of a school to take reasonable steps to secure that persons do not, for a specified period, attend premises of the school. This allows for schools to operate online.

Application of the Independent School Standards (ISS)

The ISS apply when a school is operating as a school. If a school closes except for vulnerable children and the children of critical workers, essentially operating as a safe place for children, then it may not be operating as a school. Schools will not be held accountable in this period against the full range of standards (such as the range of educational provision) but should prioritise safeguarding as usual.

If a school remains open but operating entirely remotely and online – then in principle the ISS may apply. However, ISI recognises the challenges schools are facing in trying to do the right thing by children and staff in very difficult circumstances; at this time the guiding principle is that schools should be ‘actively promoting the wellbeing of children’. ISI will not be inspecting schools’ current online educational provision against the ISS, but the DfE may commission inspection activity in respect of safeguarding issues where appropriate.

Safeguarding

An ISI document giving prompts about safeguarding considerations in this situation has been published here.

The DfE has published short guidance: on safeguarding and remote education  during this period of national emergency.

It should be read alongside Coronavirus (COVID-19): safeguarding in schools, colleges and other providers.

Handling complaints during the coronavirus outbreak 

As we move into the education recovery phase from 1st June, schools should review and update their policies to reflect the new situation.  In particular, schools will now wish to ensure that the timescales specified in their Complaints Policy are realistic for complaints handling. This may entail extending the usual timescales or issuing a temporary policy to provide greater flexibility in the context of current challenges.

If you are told a child is at risk you must contact your local council or call the police on 101.

Early years foundation stage

Modifications have been made to EYFS requirements. See here for more information.

Impact of Covid-19 on inspections of British Schools Overseas (BSOs)

Accreditation under the voluntary BSO scheme is through inspection by an inspectorate approved by the UK government. It usually lasts for 3 years at which point the school must be inspected again for re-accreditation.  Where it is not feasible for inspections to go ahead, for example, because they have been closed by their home government on account of the outbreak of Covid-19, BSOs should inform the Department for Education (DfE).

In circumstances where DfE have been made aware that the school have had their inspection postponed due to Covid-19, the DfE has indicated that it will ensure that their BSO accreditation is extended until the inspection has been rescheduled and carried out.

Therefore we would advise all BSOs whose inspections have been impacted, and would like to apply for an extension to their accreditation to contact the DfE at BritishSchools.OVERSEAS@education.gov.uk.

For more information and guidance see here (external link).

Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)

New requirements for the teaching of RSE come into force in September 2020. However, schools have discretion to decide how best to discharge their duties effectively. Those which are ready to deliver teaching and have met the requirements set out in the statutory guidance (such as parental consultation) are encouraged to begin delivering teaching from 1 September 2020, or whenever is practicable to do so within the first few weeks of the new school year. ‘If a school is unable to begin teaching until summer term 2021 they will need to decide how much of the content they will be able to cover and should still be able to demonstrate how they will cover the entirety of the curriculum in the future.’ When routine inspections re-start, inspectors will be sensitive to, and will take account of, the context and circumstances of schools. See the DfE letter to all schools for more information.

Complaints to ISI

ISI will continue to operate the ISI complaints process during the period when inspections are suspended. However, in the light of current challenges, we are extending the time period for ISI to respond at each stage by up to 20 working days. Schools may also request an extension of time at each stage by contacting: complaints@isi.net. We hope that it would not always be necessary to make use of the additional days. Please note that extensions must be agreed in advance of the filing deadline.

FAQs:  Information is on this page

 

Updates:

Updated 27 March 2020 to include information about registration, and fees.

Updated 30 March 2020 to change ‘key workers’ to ‘critical workers’, to be clear that online provision in this period will not be subject to inspection, to reference the DfE’s new safeguarding guidance for the period of school closure.

Updated 06 April 2020 to include vetting checks during social distancing.

Updated 07 April 2020 to include complaints to ISI.

Updated 24 April 2020 to link further DfE guidance on safeguarding and clarification about the application of the ISS.

Updated 05 May 2020 with links to organisations in Fees section

Updated 14 May 2020 with the handling complaints during the coronavirus outbreak and impact of Covid-19 on inspections of British Schools Overseas sections

Updated 26 May 2020 to include new information on handling complaints

Updated 02 June 2020 the FAQ: Registration section

Updated 08 June 2020 FAQs moved to their own page; Relationships and Sex Education (RSE) section added.