Estyn, the education and training inspectorate for Wales has today announced that it will suspend inspection activities during the Coronavirus outbreak in order to support providers to stay open and reduce pressure on educational institutions.
Meilyr Rowlands, Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education and Training in Wales, said in a statement:
“Because of the rapidly changing and challenging period facing schools and other education and training providers due to COVID-19, I have decided, following discussions with Welsh Government, to suspend all Estyn’s inspection and other related activities from today, Monday 16 March 2020.
“The suspension will continue until the current situation has passed or has changed significantly for the better. From our discussions with Care Inspectorate Wales, they have agreed that this suspension will also apply to our joint inspections of non-maintained nursery settings.
“I have made this decision to allow leaders and staff in all education and training providers, and those organisations who support them, to focus fully on the wellbeing of their learners, their staff and their families. Providers are likely to see increased staff absence during this time. The decision to suspend inspection work will help maintain staffing levels by ensuring that peer and other inspectors are not out of their institutions at this important time.
“Our staff will be deployed to work on a range of activities to support providers and the Welsh education system. We will work closely with Welsh Government, local authorities and regional consortia to decide on how best to do this. There may be cases where providers would like us to continue certain aspects of our engagement or support work with them, possibly remotely and through the use of technology.
“We will continue to review the changing situation and will keep you updated as the situation develops. I wish you well during this difficult time and thank you all for your understanding and co-operation.”
NAHT Cymru welcomed the suspension, saying:
“We welcome the decision to pause school inspection in Wales during this time. At this moment in time we need school leaders to be entirely focused on dealing with the immediate impact of Coronavirus. This is not the time to be inspecting schools.”