“The coroner has warned that there is a risk that future deaths could occur unless action is taken over the inspection system. We cannot see how inspections can continue to take place in schools and colleges after such a serious risk to the health and safety of education staff has been highlighted. It is our conclusion that Ofsted inspections are now untenable and should be halted until the actions advised by the coroner are undertaken by Ofsted and the Department for Education. Continuing inspections without this action plan in place also puts inspectors themselves in the impossible position of presiding over procedures where there is an identified health and safety risk.
“Inspections have finished for this term but we believe they should not resume in the new year. We are conscious that a new Chief Inspector, Sir Martyn Oliver, will be in post at that point in time, and will have to deal with this situation. We are keen to work with him. The coroner has set out seven areas of concern and asked for a response containing details of action taken or proposed to be taken, setting out a timetable for action, by 7 February. In our view, Ofsted and the Department for Education must fully address each area of concern and cease inspection activity until this is done.
“Last week, we wrote to the current Chief Inspector Amanda Spielman and Education Secretary Gillian Keegan calling for an immediate pause to inspections to allow time for meaningful action to be taken to address the concerns raised by the coroner at the conclusion of the inquest. We have now received a reply from the Chief Inspector in which she sets out a number of immediate steps including training for all inspectors starting in early January and the offer made by Ofsted last week to heads to defer inspections upon request until the new year. However, no decision has been made to pause inspection activity. We do not believe this goes far enough and that this situation demands a much greater sense of concerted action.”