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What Are Ofsted Inspections?

Ofsted logoOfsted 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 the outcome of the school's most recent inspection.  There are four grades of overall outcome:

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires Improvement
  • Inadequate

A school which was outstanding at its last inspection is exempt from routine inspection.  Exempt schools will not normally be inspected unless there is a concern about performance.  Ofsted will carry out an annual assessment of performance (from the third year after the school's last inspection).  A 'good' school will receive a short inspection, lasting one day, every three years.  A school judged as requiring improvement will be inspected again within two years.  If a school receives this judgement for successive inspections it will be monitored closely by inspectors before being re-inspected.

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.

At the end of the inspection the judgement will be reported to the Headteacher and governors and the findings are published in a report for the school, parents and the wider community on the Ofsted website -

Last Inspection

The school was last inspected on 24th June, 2009 and was awarded an overall rating of ‘Outstanding’.

Ofsted Report

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.

Further Information

  School inspections - a Guide for Parents