What Are Ofsted Inspections?
Ofsted stands for the Office for Standards in Education. It is a non-ministerial government department responsible for the inspection of all schools and other educational organisations in England.
The frequency of inspection is determined by how good a school is. ‘Good’ schools are inspected within five years of their last inspection, and ‘Outstanding’ schools (except special schools, pupil referral units and maintained nursery schools) are exempt from inspection.
However, since September 2015, ‘Good’ schools have had shorter, more frequent inspections every three years. Schools that have an ‘Inadequate’ or ‘Requires Improvement’ judgement are inspected more often, with inspectors monitoring their progress on a regular basis.
Normally, schools get half a day’s notice of a full inspection, but Ofsted has the power to go into schools without any notice if it considers it necessary. This could be if they have received concerns about a school, possibly from a parent.
Usually, inspections last for two days, although the new inspection framework means that ‘Good’ schools will have one-day inspections. The number of inspectors varies depending on the size and type of a school, but the team will include Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMI) and/or contracted Ofsted inspectors – normally practising headteachers and deputy heads.
Before the inspection, the inspectors gather information about the school by reading the previous Ofsted report, reports of any interim monitoring, any complaints that have been raised about the school, academic data, information about funding, and information from the school’s website. They also send a letter to parents inviting them to share their opinions about the school on Ofsted’s Parent View website.
During the inspection, inspectors will observe lessons, check records and gather a range of evidence to inform their judgements, including speaking to staff, governors, pupils and parents and scrutinising pupils’ work. Through these activities inspectors are able to build a clear picture of what life is like at the school and how well pupils are learning. The main focus is on teaching and learning; inspectors will sit in on lessons, look through children’s books and talk to them about not just their understanding, but also how engaged they are in their learning.
Schools receive a judgement for each of the four inspection areas, and an overall judgement. There are four categories: Outstanding, Good, Requires Improvement (previously Satisfactory) and Inadequate.
The school was last inspected on 24th June, 2009 and was awarded an overall rating of ‘Outstanding’.
Below are some of the comments from the inspection report:
- It is extremely successful in promoting pupils' personal as well as academic development.
- Pupils are keen to learn, responding particularly well to excellent care and support from teachers and their assistants
- Relationships at all levels are excellent and underpin the atmosphere of trust where pupils are not afraid to make mistakes and learn from them.
- The basis for the school's outstanding ethos is laid in Reception where provision is outstanding.
- Pupils are particularly well prepared for future study and life in general
- The spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils is outstanding.
- Throughout the school, outstanding teaching gives excellent support to pupils' learning.
- The school takes excellent care of pupils.