South Tyneside school among the first to have covid Ofsted inspection - this is what happened

A South Tyneside school has become one of the first in the country to have its Covid teaching systems checked by Ofsted.

By Gareth Crickmer
Wednesday, 25th November 2020, 6:00 am
Simonside Primary School is among the first in the country to have undergone a Covid Ofsted inspection
Simonside Primary School is among the first in the country to have undergone a Covid Ofsted inspection

Simonside Primary School, in Glasgow Road, Jarrow, is among only 1,200 schools in England – out of around 24,500 – to have been examined by the education inspectorate since September.

With full inspections suspended due to the pandemic, Ofsted is visiting select centres to discover how they have responded and what lessons can be learnt.

All schools closed in March as part of the first nationwide lockdown, and only reopened in September for the new academic year.

Ofsted said it wanted to discover how the education system is managing the return to the classroom following the extended spring and summer break.

During their visit on September 29, inspectors Gill Wild and Chris Smith did not speak to pupils or give a graded judgement, as is customary.

And while school leaders would not comment on the findings, the Ofsted team confirmed the visit had proved beneficial.

Of its newly published monitoring report, Mr Smith wrote: “The information will feed into Ofsted’s national reporting so that the insights can be shared with the Government and the education sector.

“We did not find any significant concerns during the visit. The views and experiences you have shared will help to inform future policy.”

He said the school was working hard to keep in touch with any pupil self-isolating due to Covid infection.

And he added: “Leaders have put in place a ‘recovery curriculum’. Leaders want to return to their normal curriculum as soon as possible.

“Leaders are teaching the usual curriculum in most subjects across the wider curriculum.

“They have adapted some content in subjects, such as music, physical education and science.

“In Year 1, classrooms have been adapted so that pupils can choose their own activities for part of the day.

“The school plans to deliver its usual subject content digitally, should this be needed as a result of further restrictions.

The near 240-pupil school, which teaches pupils aged four to 11, was last fully inspected by Ofsted in June 2018, and is graded ‘good’, the second highest level.

Support your Gazette and become a subscriber today. Enjoy unlimited access to local news, the latest football stories and new puzzles every day. With a digital subscription, you can see fewer ads, enjoy faster load times, and get access to exclusive newsletters and content. Click here to subscribe.