Speeding up inspections and getting children back on track – Amanda Spielman outlines Ofsted's plans

2020 may have been a year like no other, but 2021 was a chip off the old block and relentless from day one. Ofsted's chief inspector tells us about 12 more months of dealing with Covid while pushing ahead with new challenges
Photo: Russell Hart/Alamy Stock Photo

By Civil Service World

27 Dec 2021


What was your highlight of 2021?

Returning to our full programme of work in September, including routine inspection, was a real highlight.

I’m very proud of the way we responded during the pandemic, supporting many parts of central and local government, as well as inspecting providers themselves.

We are really happy to be working a bit more normally, and I’m sure many schools are too. 

How did you tackle the biggest challenges facing your organisation in 2021?

Like many other organisations in recent months, we’ve focused on bringing people back together after a long stretch of remote work.

We have worked gradually and flexibly to rebuild connections with the outside world and within our own teams.

"We have worked gradually and flexibly to rebuild connections with the outside world"

As we’ve seen so clearly with remote education for children, there’s a lot you can do through a computer screen, but also a lot you can’t. 

What is your number one priority for 2022?

Our top priority is playing our part in getting children back on track after so much disruption. Our inspections will assure schools that their recovery plans are working well and help them improve where needed.

We will be carrying out our inspections a bit more quickly from September next year.

It’s really important for parents and learners to have timely information about the quality of education they or their children are getting, so I’m pleased that we’ll now be able to reach all schools and further education providers by summer 2025. 

Which historical, mythical or contemporary figure would you most like to join you for a New Year’s Eve celebration?

A remarkable 18th century woman called Elizabeth Raffald, who for 15 years was a servant and latterly housekeeper at Arley Hall.

She then wrote a bestselling cookery book, published the first street and trade directory of Manchester, ran two posting houses, managed an unsatisfactory husband and had at least a dozen children, all before she died in her forties. 


Education Leadership
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