Commenting on data published today by Ofsted, Dr Mary Bousted, joint general secretary of the National Education Union, said:  

"Today's data release from Ofsted shows that schools and colleges are doing an incredible job in ensuring the education of children and young people continues throughout the pandemic. This is in spite of patchy and frequently unhelpful advice from Government, too often delivered late or during unsocial hours.  

"Routine inspections have been an ​unnecessary distraction during this term. Schools have, in too many cases, felt under pressure to divert their time towards preparing for inspection rather than continuing to prioritise support for pupils’ learning. Visits also have a huge impact on the stress and workload of already beleaguered school staff. 

"Government has recognised this and has at least paused inspections until January, but they must go further. That is why the National Education Union, alongside the NASUWT, wrote to the education secretary last week calling for a pause on Ofsted inspection until at least after February half-term. 

"Education recovery is the most vital work of schools and colleges right now. The rise of Omicron will contribute yet further to the disruption of education, which makes a focus on recovery all the more important. Now is not the time for Ofsted to intrude on the essential service that teachers, leaders and support staff are providing. The inspectorate is simply a burden and should get out of the way."