Ofsted and Inspections

Guidance and support with Ofsted inspections.

The following guidance documents will help schools prepare for their Ofsted inspection. Please email the school improvement service if you have any questions or for further guidance.

Draft Ofsted 2015-16 documents

New Framework Ofsted Briefings

Changes to inspection September 2015

Briefings for head teachers and senior leaders will be held in the first couple of weeks in September 2015 and a briefing paper will be issued as soon as the new documentation from Ofsted is produced. Further updates are planned for schools news to keep you informed.

There are two changes from September

The New Common Inspection Framework (CIF)

Ofsted is introducing a single Common Inspection Framework (CIF) for maintained schools and academies, further education and skills providers, registered early years settings and non-association independent schools.

This enables settings to be inspected to an equal set of standards and will ensure consistency and an improved ability to compare different types of provision. Inspectors will make 4 graded judgements on the same areas across all remits: effectiveness of leadership and management; quality of teaching, learning and assessment; personal development, behaviour and welfare and outcomes for children and learners. There will be a greater emphasis on safeguarding, the quality of early learning, the breadth of the curriculum in schools.

Ofsted’s new frequent, shorter inspections for maintained schools and academies judged good at their last full inspection.

Ofsted will deliver frequent, shorter inspections for schools and academies judged good at their last inspection. These will take place approximately every 3 years and will provide an opportunity for greater professional dialogue between inspectors and leaders.

They will be carried out as Section 8 inspections.  Ofsted described the shorter inspections as a "temperature check". If serious concerns emerge about a school then inspectors will call for a full inspection. They will be one day inspections and three outcomes the school maintains its good judgment or on the second day a full inspection takes place that might lead to either a ‘requires improvement/inadequate’ or ‘outstanding’ judgment.

They will focus on whether the quality of the provision is being sustained and leaders have the capacity to drive improvement. These inspections will allow Ofsted to identify decline early. They will also give schools and providers which are improving the opportunity to demonstrate this improvement to Ofsted sooner. Ofsted is also taking steps to improve how they inspect.

From September 2015, it will contract directly with inspectors for schools, non-association independent schools and further education and skills and they will also increase the number of current practitioners on inspections teams. This will enable Ofsted have the necessary quality, control and flexibility in its workforce to deliver its reforms and give education professionals who choose to become Ofsted Inspectors the opportunity for peer review, continuous professional development, training and experience of inspection.


New framework and handbooks are due to be published by Ofsted late in the summer term. We will ensure that these are published onto the Ofsted and inspections page of the intranet as soon as they are out.

Ofsted guidance - 2015

Find school inspection handbook/framework and relevant documentation for 2015

Old Ofsted inspection documentation  pre September 2015

Inspections from September 2014 - Ofsted documents

Ofsted has significantly reduced, by over 275 pages, the amount of guidance it publishes for inspectors, schools and other stakeholders. Many elements of previous guidance are now included in a new training programme for inspectors.

There are now just three guidance documents: The Framework for school inspection; the School inspection handbook; and Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies - see resources below.

Inspectors will use this new guidance for the inspection of maintained schools and academies from September 2014.

Key changes

The revised School inspection handbook incorporates guidance and briefings for inspectors that were previously spread across a number of documents. The exception is in the area of inspecting safeguarding, where guidance is set out in a separate document.

While there is no fundamental change to inspection methodology, inspectors will from September 2014:

  • make graded judgments for early years and sixth form provision, following our consultation earlier this year
  • no longer record on evidence forms a grade on the quality of teaching for individual lesson observations
  • pay even greater attention to a school’s curriculum to ensure that it is appropriately broad and balanced to help prepare young people for life in modern Britain.
  • Guidance has also been revised to support inspectors in making judgments following the phased removal of National Curriculum levels from September 2014.
  • Schools previously judged to be good will no longer receive an interim assessment letter in the third year after their last section 5 inspection to inform them that they will not be inspected in the forthcoming year. Our inspection selection policy for ‘good’ schools remains unchanged.
  • The inspection handbook makes clear that the most important role of teaching is to promote learning and the acquisition of knowledge by pupils and to raise achievement. It reiterates Ofsted’s stated policy that we have no preferred teaching style; it is up to the classroom teacher to determine how they should teach.
  • There is clear guidance for inspectors on the duties and responsibilities of school governors.

Link to Ofsted website. Resources for school inspection


This framework sets out the statutory basis for inspections conducted under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 (as amended) from September 2012. It summarises the main features of school inspections and describes how the general principles and processes of inspection are applied to maintained schools, academies and some other types of school in England. This version of the framework is effective from September 2014.

This handbook provides instructions and guidance for inspectors conducting inspections under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 (as amended). It sets out what inspectors must do and what schools can expect, and provides guidance for inspectors on making their judgements.

This briefing paper aims to support inspectors in reviewing schools’ safeguarding arrangements when carrying out section 5 inspections.

Monitoring visits

Assessment without levels

Disadvantaged Pupils and Pupil Premium

Early Years inspection

Local Authority School improvement inspections

Thematic Reports

Inspection 2013-14 archive documents

Ofsted is continually updating its website with revised documents which will form the new Inspection Ready Pack. Updated documents are available below and from Ofsted's website: www.ofsted.gov.uk.

Inspection ready pack: April 2014

The following documents are used as part of the Ofsted briefing sessions that take place every term. See OPL booklet for details.

Ofsted inspection guidance documents: May 2014

Ofsted Guidance documents

Ofsted ready data

These resources relate to the 'Ofsted Ready Data' courses that many schools have attended. They include the PowerPoint presentation slides and matrix templates for schools to present information about proportions of Year 6 pupils making expected and better than expected progress.

Self-evaluation and Raising Achievement Plan

The SEF / RAP has been updated to be in line with the new inspection framework (September 2013). Please refer to Ofsted's School Inspection Handbook (available above in the September Inspection Ready Pack) when completing the self-evaluation sections to ensure that you have evaluated the bullet points that inspectors will investigate.

Please remember that the template is intended as a guide to demonstrate how your self-evaluation leads into development/improvement planning. Your own RAP/SDP/SIP may well have sections in addition to those that Ofsted will inspect so please add those where appropriate.

Please also remember that as a Word document you can cut, paste and move sections at your own discretion and do not have to use parts of the template that are unsuitable for your school.

Available to download below is a partially completed example SEF to provide ideas about what to include with respect to school context and achievement.