A ‘thematic visit’ is a shorter and less impactful activity designed to reduce the stress placed upon schools whilst maintaining the department’s mandatory responsibility towards school inspection. The process involves new survey questions for students, parents and teachers, a desk-based analysis followed by a day site visit by a single inspector. The purpose of the visits will be to see how schools have adapted to the demands of Covid-19 and how schools are ensuring that students are still learning whilst in a safe environment.
Schools can expect the usual two-week notice period. To ensure standardisation, inspectors will use the ‘Successful Schools and Achieving Students 2’ inspection framework, performance standards;
5 – Keeping our students safe and always supported and,
6 - Leading and managing our school and developing links with the community we serve.
All questions and discussions will reflect a COVID-19 context and you will be expected to discuss your adaptations and contingency planning. No judgements will be given however, the inspector will comment on the strengths and recommend areas for improvement. Moreover, schools will be invited to articulate those Covid-19 adaptations that they are going to keep for the long term, defined in the school feedback as ‘Covid Keepers’. Schools will receive a short report letter post-inspection and the information gathered will form part of a national report later in the year (2022).