how ofsted inspections work

Ofsted inspects providers across education, children’s services and further education, to report on their effectiveness.

The type of inspection determines factors such as:

  • the number of inspectors
  • the length of the inspection
  • the amount of notice a provider receives
  • what happens during an inspection
  • the content of the inspection report

A typical inspection has at least one inspector visiting the provider and following a framework to report on particular aspects of the provision.

After the inspection, Ofsted releases their findings in a report. These reports are published on the Ofsted website and, in some cases, the provider is obligated to share this report.

The content of the report depends on the type of inspection, but will generally describe the provider, then explain their inspection findings and judgements. This is followed by an overall grade given by the inspector.

How the inspection is carried out depends on the type of provider. Please click on the links below for more information about how Ofsted inspects schools and academies.

guide for parents

  • How and when inspections happen
  • What happens during an inspection
  • What happens after an inspection
  • The effects of Ofsted inspections
  • How to express concerns

talking to pupils

  • Why inspectors talk to pupils
  • What inspectors may ask pupils
  • How these discussions take place
  • Making reasonable adjustments
  • Discussing sensitive topics

guide for schools

  • How and when inspections happen
  • Conduct during an inspection
  • Information to share with inspectors
  • What happens after an inspection
  • Safeguarding information