Ofsted inspection of schools and academies from January
The revised framework for inspecting schools and academies in England came into force
in January 2012. This booklet provides information on the main features of the inspection
arrangements. It also provides advice on the key issues relating to inspection.
The NASUWT believes that the focus of inspection should be on improving the quality of
teaching and learning by supporting teachers and headteachers to enhance practice. The
Union believes that inspectors should report on achievements and how schools can build
pathways to success and will continue to campaign for this model of supportive and
developmental inspection rather than the punitive, high-stakes system that currently exists.
The NASUWT actively monitors the implementation of the inspection arrangements.
Therefore, feedback is vital. Please pass on to the NASUWT any information about issues
or difficulties that occur during the inspection, as a result of work undertaken in preparation
for, or in response to an inspection.
The NASUWT will continue to support and advise individual members who encounter
difficulties linked to an inspection.
Inspection and NASUWT instructions on industrial action short of strike
Inspection has a massive impact on teachers’ workload and working conditions. Some
schools use inspection, or the need to demonstrate that the school is improving, to justify
the use of highly bureaucratic and burdensome working practices. This is an issue for all
schools, including schools that have been judged outstanding. However, teachers in
schools that have been judged inadequate are likely to be at greatest risk. It is vital that
teachers and school leaders resist the use of such practice as this will impact on teachers’
health and wellbeing, undermine teachers’ professional status and have an adverse
impact on standards.
The NASUWT’s instructions on taking action short of strike action apply to activities
associated with inspection. The instructions on taking action short of strike action have
been incorporated into this guidance. Further advice relating to the NASUWT’s action
short of strike action can be obtained from the NASUWT’s website: www.nasuwt.org.uk.
The main differences between the new inspection framework and the old
The new inspection framework introduces a number of changes to inspection. The main
changes are as follows:
Inspectors will place greater emphasis on classroom observation and will spend more
time in the classroom.
Inspectors will no longer make graded sub-judgements or contributory judgements.
There will be no separate graded judgement on the achievement of pupils with special
educational needs (SEN) and disabilities or on pupil attainment and there will be no
There will be no separate graded judgements for the Early Years Foundation Stage
(EYFS) or the sixth form. Inspectors will evaluate this provision as part of the overall
The contextual value added (CVA) measure has been replaced by a value added (VA)
Ofsted no longer produces the school self-evaluation form (SEF). Inspectors will expect
schools to design their own self-evaluation and will use a summary of this self-
evaluation when they inspect the school.
Inspectors will place much greater emphasis on judging performance over time, rather
than judging what is seen during the inspection. This applies to all areas of the
framework, including behaviour and safety of pupils.
The judgement of overall effectiveness is based on the four key judgements
(achievement; the quality of teaching; behaviour and safety; and leadership and
management) and how the school promotes pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural
Outstanding schools will no longer be routinely inspected as part of section 5
inspections of schools but they will be inspected as part of survey and thematic
inspections. They will also be subject to annual risk assessments and could be
inspected if the risk assessment identifies issues of concern.
Schools will receive monitoring visits between inspections if:
o (a) they have been judged satisfactory in their last two inspections;
o (b) they have an overall effectiveness judgement of satisfactory and where
behaviour was judged no better than satisfactory; or
o (c) no main inspection grades were better than satisfactory.
Further changes to inspection announced in January 2012
Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) has the power to determine which schools, if any,
will be subject to no notice inspection. HMCI has announced that from September 2012 all
section 5 inspections of schools will be no notice.
Since the publication of the inspection framework, Ofsted has announced plans to replace
the judgement of satisfactory with a judgement of requires improvement. No school will be
able to remain in the requires improvement category for more than three years. Under the
proposals, a school that is in this category will be re-inspected after 12-18 months and
may receive up to two further inspections. If after three years the school remains in the
requires improvement category, they will require special measures.
The plans to replace the category of satisfactory with requires improvement are subject to
consultation. This guidance will be updated to reflect the outcome of the consultation.
An overview of the framework for inspecting schools from January 2012
Inspection, annual risk assessment and monitoring inspections
The inspection framework applies to all maintained schools, including special schools and
pupil referral units (PRUs). It also applies to academies, which includes free schools,
university technical colleges (UTCs) and studio schools.
Mainstream schools that have been judged outstanding in their previous inspection will be
exempt from routine (section 5) inspections. They will still be included in subject and
thematic survey inspections. Special schools and PRUs that have been judged
outstanding will continue to be inspected as part of routine inspections.
All schools will be subject to an annual assessment of their performance. The annual risk
assessment involves an analysis of the school’s public performance data, data on pupils’
rates of attendance, any inspection visits since the last inspection, any significant concerns
brought to Ofsted’s attention, including concerns from the relevant local authority or
‘qualifying complaints’, and the views of pupils and parents. The results of this analysis
could lead to a decision that the school needs to be inspected, perhaps because the data
suggests that their performance is slipping or because concerns have been raised about
the safeguarding or welfare of pupils.
Schools that have been judged satisfactory1 may be subject to monitoring inspections to
check on progress since the last inspection. Schools judged inadequate in their overall
effectiveness will be subject to monitoring visits and will be re-inspected.
Requests to inspect schools
A request can be made for Ofsted to inspect a school. A request could be made because
there are concerns about the school. This might come from a variety of sources, including
the local authority, teachers, parents or inspectors who have undertaken a subject or
survey inspection of the school. Alternatively, the school might request an inspection in
order to confirm high or improving performance.
HMCI will decide whether Ofsted will carry out an inspection. Ofsted has the power to
charge schools that request an inspection.
Frequency of inspection
Schools that were judged as good in their last inspection will be inspected within five years
of the end of the academic year in which their last inspection took place.
Schools that were judged as satisfactory in their last inspection will normally be inspected
within three years2 from the end of the school year in which their last inspection took place.
Schools that have been judged satisfactory may also receive monitoring visits to check on
their progress since their last full inspection. This could happen if the school has been
judged satisfactory for two consecutive inspections, if no main grades in the inspection
report were above satisfactory and if behaviour was no better than satisfactory.
Schools that have been judged inadequate and issued with a notice to improve will be re-
inspected between 12 and 16 months after the inspection that placed them in a category of
concern. Schools that have been judged to be inadequate and placed in special measures
will be re-inspected between 24-28 months after the inspection that placed them in the
category of concern. Schools that have been judged inadequate will also receive
monitoring visits from inspectors.
See the section ‘Further changes to inspection announced in January 2012’ for information about plans to
replace the satisfactory judgement with requires improvement.
This is likely to change if the proposals outlined above are implemented.
Length of and notice about inspection
Schools receive between zero and two days’ notice that they will be inspected. Currently,
HMCI may arrange for an inspection of a school to take place without notice if there are
particular reasons such as concerns about behaviour and/or safeguarding, a rapid decline
in academic standards or where ‘there is a strong voice of concern raised by
In January 2012, HMCI announced plans that all section 5 inspections will be no notice
from September 2012.
Currently, some monitoring visits are conducted without notice.
Inspecting schools and academies that are in partnerships and federations
Ofsted inspects individual schools, not a federation or partnership. However, schools that
are part of a federation or partnership may be inspected simultaneously.
Where schools are part of a federation or partnership, inspectors should inspect the impact
of collaborative arrangements, federations or specific support. However, leadership and
management will only be judged in the context of its impact on each individual school.
There is no judgement of the leadership and management of a federation or partnership
Where simultaneous inspections of schools in federations and/or with shared sixth forms
take place, the lead inspectors for each individual school should liaise on matters relevant
to the schools involved.
Ofsted says that innovation and community collaboration are important aspects of
academy policy. Therefore, when inspecting academies, inspectors should evaluate the
extent of the academy’s impact with other schools and the wider community.
Focus of inspection
The inspection framework focuses on four areas:
1. the achievement of pupils;
2. the quality of teaching;
3. the behaviour and safety of pupils;
4. the quality of leadership and management.
Inspectors no longer make separate judgements about a school’s work on equality and
community cohesion. However, inspectors are required to judge and report on this work as
part of their judgement about each of the four areas.
There is a single judgement on achievement. This covers current pupils’ progress together
with attainment and trends in attainment and progress in recent years.
Inspectors will look at the progress pupils make relative to their starting points and how
well gaps are narrowing between groups of pupils in the schools and compared to all
pupils nationally. They will look at the particular achievements of pupils with SEN. They will
also look at how well pupils have progressed since joining the school and the standards
that pupils attain by the time that they leave the school.
Inspectors will pay particular attention to standards in reading, writing and maths and how
well pupils develop these and other skills across the curriculum. In the case of primary
schools, this will include looking at data from the synthetic phonics screening checks of six
year olds. It will also include hearing children read in primary schools and possibly in
Years 7 and 8 in secondary schools.
Inspectors will no longer use contextual value added (CVA) data to measure performance.
RAISEonline has been adapted to include a range of value added (VA) measures.
Ofsted will compare pupils’ attainment with national data on pupils’ attainment. Ofsted has
issued guidance to inspectors that pupils’ attainment must be at least average when
compared with national data in order for a school to be judged outstanding.
2. Quality of teaching
Judgements about the quality of teaching are closely linked to pupils’ achievement and to
the school’s work to promote children’s SMSC development. Inspectors will look at
teachers’ planning and implementation of learning activities across the whole curriculum,
as well as marking, assessment and feedback. Inspectors will judge teaching in terms of
its impact on learning and progress.
Inspectors will continue to use evidence from lesson observations and from the school’s
self-evaluation. They will also look at the impact of teaching over time. This might be done
through discussions with pupils about their work, analysis of school records, and scrutiny
and analysis of pupils’ work.
The new inspection framework places a greater emphasis on the teaching of reading and
the development of literacy skills, and inspectors will consider how formative assessment
is used during lessons to support learning.
3. Behaviour and safety of pupils
When forming a judgement about the behaviour and safety of pupils, inspectors will look at
behaviour in the classroom and around the school, attitudes to learning, attendance and
punctuality, and freedom from harassment and bullying, including prejudice-related
harassment and bullying. Inspectors will draw on evidence that provides a picture of what
behaviour is like typically, not just what is observed during the course of inspection.
Inspectors will draw on the views of parents, pupils and staff when assessing pupils’
behaviour and safety over time.
Inspectors will consider pupils’ attitudes towards and respect for other young people and
4. Quality of leadership and management
Inspectors will make a single judgement about the quality of leadership and management.
The judgement will focus on how effectively leaders and managers at all levels in the
school lead on and improve teaching, promote improvements for all pupils and groups of
pupils, and enable pupils to overcome specific barriers to learning.
Inspectors will consider whether managers demonstrate an ambitious vision for the school
and set high standards for quality and performance. They will look at what is done to
improve teaching and learning.
Inspectors will look at whether the school provides a broad and balanced curriculum that
meets the needs of all pupils and enables them to achieve their full educational potential.
They will include consider how well the school promotes pupils’ SMSC development.
Inspectors will assess how well the school evaluates its strengths and weaknesses and
the action that is taken to improve the school.
The inspection framework requires inspectors to evaluate the extent to which a school’s
leaders and managers develop leadership capacity and high professional standards
among all staff. This means that inspectors should look at the opportunities for staff to
access and undertake continuing professional development (CPD).
Equality and community cohesion
The extent to which a school promotes equality and tackles discrimination contributes to
the overall judgement about a school’s effectiveness. Inspectors must take account of the
performance and progress of different groups of pupils, including pupils from different
ethnic backgrounds, looked after children, pupils with SEN and/or disabilities, pupils from
lower socioeconomic backgrounds, boys and girls.
Inspectors must consider whether there are equality issues related to or arising from the
behaviour of pupils, including the steps that the school takes to prevent and tackle
prejudice-related bullying and harassment.
Whilst schools no longer have a duty to promote community cohesion, inspectors will
inspect and judge how effectively the school promotes community cohesion. Inspectors
must include commentary on how effectively the school promotes community cohesion in
the final report of the inspection.
Inspection judgements and grading
Schools are judged as either:
1. Outstanding. 2. Good. 3. Satisfactory.3 4. Inadequate.
Schools that are graded inadequate will either be issued with a notice to improve or placed
in special measures.
A school will be issued with a notice to improve if it is judged to be failing to provide an
acceptable standard of education but is demonstrating capacity to improve, or if it is
performing significantly less well than it might, in all the circumstances, reasonably be
expected to perform.
In January 2012, Ofsted announced plans to replace satisfactory with requires improvement. This is subject
to the outcome of a consultation. See the section ‘Further changes to inspection announced in January 2012’
for further information.
A school will be placed in special measures if it is judged to be failing to give its pupils an
acceptable standard of education and if the people responsible for leading, managing or
governing the school are not demonstrating the capacity to secure the necessary
improvement in the school.
The inspection report includes a judgement about the school’s overall effectiveness. The
overall effectiveness judgement is based on the four judgements: pupils’ achievement, the
quality of teaching, the behaviour and safety of pupils, and the quality of leadership and
In forming the judgement, inspectors must also take account of:
the extent to which the education provided by the school meets the needs of the range
of pupils at the school, including pupils who are disabled or who have SEN; and
how well the school promotes pupils’ SMSC development.
Judgements about sixth form and/or early years provision
Ofsted no longer makes separate graded judgements about the effectiveness of sixth form
provision or early years provision. Instead, inspectors will evaluate these areas as part of
the overall school provision.
Feedback and the inspection report
Before leaving the school, the lead inspector must provide oral feedback on the points that
will be referred to in the inspection report, including the likely grades to be awarded,
recommendations for improvement and, if relevant, the implications of the school being
judged inadequate or satisfactory.
The inspection report should be consistent with the lead inspector’s oral feedback.
The inspection report should be between 1,500 and 2,000 words long. The report must
include commentary about:
the school’s main strengths, including any outstanding practice;
the main areas for improvement;
the school’s capacity to improve;
how well groups of pupils achieve and enjoy their learning;
pupils’ learning and performance in the classroom as observed;
outcomes for different groups of pupils;
the effectiveness of leaders and managers, including governors, in embedding
ambition and driving improvement, promoting equality of opportunity and tackling
discrimination, ensuring that safeguarding procedures are effective and promoting
The school should receive a copy of the draft report for a factual check. The school will
then have one day to comment unless it is being placed in a category of concern, in which
case the school will have five days to comment.
Ofsted will publish the school’s inspection report on its website within 15 days of the end of
School leaders’ involvement in the inspection process
The lead inspector should ensure that the headteacher and senior staff:
are kept up to date with how the inspection is proceeding;
understand how the inspection team reaches its judgements;
have opportunities to clarify how evidence is used to reach judgements; and
are given opportunities to present additional information.
Headteachers are invited to give their views on the issues for inspection as part of pre-
inspection discussions, participate in joint lesson observations and receive regular updates
from the lead inspector.
Unless there are compelling reasons not to do so, headteachers are invited to attend the
formal inspection team meetings at the end of each day of the inspection and discuss the
inspectors’ recommendations to ensure that they are understood.
Participation in inspection activities is not mandatory and the headteacher can choose
whether or not to accept the invitation.
Key issues – Information and NASUWT advice
The professional status of teachers
Inspectors evaluate the extent to which leaders and managers at all levels within a school
set high standards for quality and performance and improve teaching and learning. They
also evaluate the extent to which leaders and managers develop leadership capacity and
high professional standards among all staff so that the school can continue to improve.
This includes evaluating how effectively leaders and managers seek out and model best
practice, how well they develop staff through dialogue, coaching, mentoring and support,
and the extent to which they lead a coherent programme of professional development.
The inspection framework and the related evaluation schedule say very little about what
good leadership and management should look like. There is a real danger that the
inspection criteria will encourage punitive and aggressive styles of leadership and
management, particularly given the high-stakes nature of inspection.
The NASUWT believes that active engagement with the workforce, including the workforce
unions, should be at the heart of leadership and management, and international evidence
supports this view. For example, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and
Development (OECD) report on building a high-quality teaching profession4 emphasises
the importance of work environments that are not prescriptive and that do not use
bureaucratic management procedures to direct their work, and of workers being ‘consulted
on all matters of consequence’.
The NASUWT is, therefore, clear that inspection judgements about leadership and
management should include an evaluation of the extent to which school leaders and
managers engage staff in planning and decision making, the extent to which teachers are
trusted and enabled to exercise professional autonomy, and whether teachers have an
entitlement to and can access high-quality professional development and support.
NASUWT members and Representatives should seek to secure approaches to leadership
and management that are collaborative and supportive and that enable teachers to
exercise their professional autonomy. They should also ensure that all teachers can
access their entitlement to high-quality CPD.
The NASUWT would like feedback about how Ofsted inspectors judge approaches to
leadership and management, including examples of good or poor practice. The NASUWT
will continue to press for Ofsted to issue guidance to inspectors about inspecting
leadership and management style, and this information will help to support the Union’s
Workload and working hours
Under the previous inspection framework, Ofsted’s school SEF contained a specific
reference to compliance with the provisions in the School Teachers’ Pay and Conditions
Document (STPCD) relating to workload and wider workforce reforms. Ofsted no longer
maintains the SEF and schools are expected to identify and implement their own
OECD (2011) Building a High-Quality Teaching Profession: Lessons from Around the World.
approaches to self-evaluation. More information pertaining to self-evaluation is set out
Ofsted says that it wants to see the school as it normally functions. This means, that
schools are not expected to prepare specifically for inspection.
Whilst the inspection framework and evaluation schedule make no specific references to
workload and teachers’ conditions of service, schools are required to comply with
teachers’ contractual entitlements. This means that all maintained schools and most
academies5 must be able to demonstrate that they comply with provisions set out in the
The provisions in the STPCD recognise the link between workload and standards,
including the right to a reasonable work/life balance and the importance of ensuring that
teachers and school leaders are able to focus on their professional responsibilities of
teaching, and leading teaching and learning. Therefore, the provisions set out in the
STPCD are relevant to all schools, irrespective of whether or not the school is actually
covered by the STPCD.
Teachers, school leaders and Representatives should seek to ensure that the school’s
self-evaluation includes explicit reference to compliance with the contractual provisions in
the STPCD. This should include specific reference to assessing whether all school policies
have been evaluated for their impact on workload and working hours. Teachers, school
leaders and Representatives should contact the NASUWT for advice and support if they
encounter any difficulties in securing these conditions.
During inspection, inspectors may want to see examples of paperwork. The information
should be part of the school’s routine procedures. Staff should not be required to provide
any additional paperwork.
The school should not be asked to analyse data for the inspection team. However,
inspectors may ask school leaders to talk about how the school has analysed specific data
with a view to finding out if and how data informs the school’s self-evaluation.
Schools should not prepare for inspection. Mock inspections are unnecessary, add to
workload burdens and place staff under considerable pressure. Teachers should resist any
attempts to introduce mock inspections. They should also resist any moves to introduce
burdensome planning processes such as providing detailed lesson plans for each lesson
or self-evaluation systems that operate at departmental level simply as a paper trail for
If any member of staff, including the headteacher, works part time and inspection takes
place on days when they are not in the school, then they must not be expected or asked to
come into school during the inspection. However, if teachers or headteachers who work
part time agree to come to work, they should be paid additionally.
All academies that converted after 1 September 2010 and those academies that converted before
September 2010 that are covered by the STPCD.
Ofsted places a great deal of emphasis on lesson observation and on involving school
leaders in the inspection process. Inspectors are likely to invite school leaders to
participate in joint lesson observations.
Ofsted guidance makes it clear that lesson observations should enable inspectors to judge
the accuracy of the school’s evaluation of teaching and learning. Ofsted guidance says
that the key objectives of lesson observations are to evaluate the quality of learning and
the contribution of teaching.
Lesson observation should focus on issues identified in the pre-inspection briefing with
senior staff or from early inspection activity. Observations will include gathering evidence
on how well particular groups of pupils and individual pupils are learning. Inspectors
should use evidence from lesson observations to make detailed and specific
recommendations to improve teaching and learning and make judgements about
outcomes for pupils, provision and aspects of leadership and management.
Inspectors may use a range of strategies for observations, including part-lesson
observations of 25 to 30 minutes, tracking of a class or group of pupils to assess pupils’
experience of a school day or part of a day, long observations of an hour or more, and/or
short visits to a number of lessons.
Any of these observation strategies may be carried out jointly with the headteacher/senior
member of staff. Guidance to inspectors makes it clear that a joint observation between
the inspector and a member of the senior management should only take place if the
teacher agrees to being jointly observed.
Inspectors should work to a protocol for feedback arrangements that the lead inspector
has explained to the school. Inspectors must be proactive in offering feedback to teachers.
Inspectors should provide teachers with feedback for all observations of 25 minutes or
more. They may also provide feedback for observations of less than 25 minutes. For
example, short reading/phonics sessions. Inspectors should explain the arrangements for
feedback to the teacher prior to, or shortly after, the observation.
Feedback should address the main strengths and weaknesses of the activity observed,
pupils’ learning and the teacher’s contribution to it;
the quality of what was seen;
how it could be improved.
Where possible inspectors should comment on:
the context and content of the lesson ;
where it fits into a sequence or programme of lessons;
other teaching and learning activities that the teacher uses;
professional development experience related to teaching;
the extent to which leaders monitor teaching and provide pedagogical guidance and
support for teachers;
the nature and impact of performance management.
Inspectors are expected to provide a grade for lessons that they observe. In the case of
short observations, the grade should be given for those aspects of them that are possible
Ofsted advice to inspectors states explicitly that the judgement about the quality of
teaching in the school must not be based predominantly on the teaching grades given in
lesson observations. Inspectors must consider the typical features of teaching in the
school, including the strengths and areas for development, and should use the evaluation
schedule to guide their judgements.
Teachers cannot refuse to be observed. However, Ofsted advice to inspectors makes it
clear that teachers must not be placed under pressure to be jointly observed. NASUWT
Representatives need to be alert to the possibility that pressure may be placed on
teachers to be jointly observed and should remind members of their rights.
An inspector’s judgement of a teacher’s teaching and its impact on learning relates only to
what has been observed during the course of the lesson. It is not a judgement about the
quality and effectiveness of their teaching in general. The judgement must not be used to
make judgements about the performance of an individual teacher. For example, the school
must not use Ofsted inspection judgements about the quality of teaching and its impact on
learning to begin, or to support, capability proceedings against an individual teacher.
The NASUWT has received feedback that some inspectors limit the length of lesson
observations so that they do not need to provide feedback to teachers. The Union believes
that inspectors should always try to give feedback to teachers who have been observed.
This enables the teacher to establish the rationale for an inspector’s judgement and may
be important if a teacher disagrees with the judgement. NASUWT Representatives should
contact the NASUWT if they have evidence that an inspector appears to be limiting the
time of observations so that they do not need to give feedback to teachers.
Lesson observations that are not part of an inspection
Lesson observations that are not part of an inspection should link to performance
management. The performance management cycle should begin with a planning review
meeting, and arrangements for lesson observations should be agreed at this meeting.
Individual teachers should be subject to no more than three hours’ lesson observation
during the course of the academic year.6 There is no requirement for all or any of the three
hours’ lesson observation to be used. The amount and focus of the lesson observation
should be discussed at the planning review meeting. The amount should be proportionate
to the individual’s need.
Lesson observations should be recorded in a way that supports professional dialogue and
exchange. It is not appropriate for lessons to be graded. Such an approach is simplistic
and ignores the importance of a holistic approach to performance management. Ofsted
This is set out in the performance management regulations, which apply until 31 August 2012. The
regulations that come into force from 1 September 2012 include no limit. However, the NASUWT regards the
three-hour limit as a critical feature of fair and effective practice. NASUWT Representatives should seek to
ensure that the three-hour limit is built into school performance management arrangements.
has made it clear that it does not require schools to grade individual lessons using the
Ofsted grading system.
The data collected through lesson observations should be used to inform the school’s
evaluation of the quality of teaching and learning and school improvement planning.
There is evidence that Ofsted inspection is being used by schools to trigger or justify
increased use of lesson observation. There should be no increase in the number of lesson
observations in schools to satisfy inspection. All observations should take place within the
Whilst schools need to respond to the recommendations arising from the inspection report,
this should not result in a school automatically initiating additional lesson observations as
part of their post-Ofsted follow-up arrangements. The three-hour observation limit still
Learning walks and drop-ins
The NASUWT regards ‘learning walks’ to be lesson observations. Teachers should only be
observed in accordance with their performance management planning statement.
Teachers should not agree to any observations, including learning walks, that are not in
their statement or that take them over the three-hour lesson observation limit.
A headteacher has a duty to evaluate the standards of teaching and learning and has a
right to use ‘drop-ins’ to inform their monitoring of the quality of learning. Where the
headteacher genuinely operates a drop-in of a few minutes and this does not involve
formal observation of teaching but focuses on pupils’ learning, it would not be classed as a
lesson observation. However, if the headteacher focuses on the teacher or makes notes
on the teacher’s performance or uses the visit for any other purpose the visit would be
classed as a lesson observation.
Ofsted no longer maintains a standard school SEF. Schools are expected to identify and
use their own approach to self-evaluation. Ofsted will look at how the school uses self-
evaluation to develop and improve. Ofsted says that the quality of the self-evaluation is an
indicator of calibre of the school’s leaders and managers and the school’s capacity to
Schools may provide the lead inspector with a summary of their self-evaluation. The
summary should provide a brief evaluation of evidence, summarise outcomes and outline
the impact of what has been done and areas where improvements are planned.
It is important that self-evaluation is not burdensome or bureaucratic. School leaders
should ensure that their school self-evaluation practice draws together school
improvement planning, performance management and audit, and that it supports effective
teaching and learning. School self-evaluation should not be an additional process and it
should not involve additional monitoring and evaluation, including classroom observation.
It should not involve teachers undertaking additional responsibilities or require them to be
subject to any additional processes or meetings.
There is a danger that school self-evaluation is seen as an extension of the inspection
process. Also, the short notice of inspection places school leaders under pressure to
establish systems of monitoring that effectively amount to continuous self-evaluation,
thereby increasing the workloads of teachers and other staff. It is important that this does
not happen. Self-evaluation should support school improvement.
Self-evaluation should address all aspects of school life. It should include an evaluation of
how well the school supports and develops high-quality teaching and learning. This should
include an assessment of whether the school ensures that teachers receive their
contractual entitlements to working conditions that enable them to focus on teaching and
learning and how well teachers are supported and enabled to exercise their professional
It is important that teachers are consulted and that school leaders take account of
teachers’ views as part of the self-evaluation process. The evaluation should assess the
extent to which teachers and workforce unions are engaged in wider planning and decision
making within the school.
The record of any self-evaluation, including the summary report, should not include
information about individual staff or information that allows staff to be identified.
NASUWT Representatives should monitor the school’s self-evaluation procedures in order
to monitor the accuracy of statements on workforce provisions and whether all teachers
have access and an entitlement to high-quality CPD.
If teachers, school leaders or Representatives have evidence about non compliance with
workforce provisions or if there is other evidence that the evaluation does not take account
of the issues affecting staff or it does not reflect their views and needs, then they should
raise their concerns with the headteacher. If they believe that the headteacher does not
intend to take appropriate action to address the issues identified, then they should contact
the NASUWT as a matter of urgency to obtain further advice and support.
SEN and inspection
Ofsted says that inspectors should note that ‘while many pupils with SEN are not
precluded from attaining as well as or better than their peers, for those groups of pupils
whose cognitive ability is such that their attainment is unlikely ever to rise above “low”, the
judgement on achievement should be based on an evaluation of the pupils’ learning and
progress relative to their starting points at particular ages and any assessment measures
held by the school, but should not take account of their attainment compared to national
Ofsted also says that inspectors should note the progress made by pupils with SEN and
disabilities, including comparing their performance with all pupils nationally, where
Ofsted (2012) The Evaluation Schedule for the inspection of maintained schools and academies, page 6.
Feedback from members working as SENCOs suggests that the quality of such SEN-
related inspection judgements depends on whether the inspection team includes an SEN
specialist. Feedback also suggests that serious problems can arise where inspection
teams do not draw upon the expertise of an SEN specialist. This appears to be a particular
problem for mainstream schools that are inclusive and so have a large number of pupils
with SEN and disabilities.
NASUWT Representatives should monitor how inspectors inspect and judge a school’s
performance in relation to SEN and disability matters. This should include monitoring
whether the school is penalised because it has a large number of pupils with SEN who are
unlikely to achieve as well as their peers. Representatives should report any concerns to
The performance and progress of some pupils with SEN will be linked to the quality of
external support that the school is able to access. The NASUWT is extremely concerned
that cuts to public services mean that schools are not able to access the support that will
enable them to meet the needs of some pupils with SEN. Teachers, school leaders and
NASUWT Representatives should report to the NASUWT any problems that schools
encounter in accessing external support for pupils with SEN and disabilities. They should
also report back to the NASUWT if these problems affect the school’s inspection
VA measures and school context
Ofsted will no longer use CVA measures when forming a judgement about pupils’
achievement. RAISEonline has been adapted to include a range of VA measures.
Ofsted is issuing guidance to inspectors on how to judge the value that a school adds to
pupils’ achievement. This is likely to take some account of the school’s context.
The shift from CVA measures to VA measures reflects the Coalition Government’s view
that schools should have high expectations of all pupils and that background should not be
a barrier to high achievement.
Whilst it is critical that steps are taken to reduce differences and ultimately close gaps
between groups of pupils, it is also important to recognise that gaps may be due, at least
in part, to factors outside the school system. Further, some pupils, notably some pupils
with SEN and disabilities, will never perform as well as their peers. The NASUWT is
extremely concerned that some inspectors will not take appropriate account of these
factors and so may have unrealistically high expectations of what some schools,
particularly ‘inclusive’ schools, should achieve.
Teachers, school leaders and NASUWT Representatives should monitor how inspection
teams interpret a school’s context. It will be particularly important to monitor how
inspectors interpret the performance and progress of pupils with SEN and disabilities, and
performance and progress in schools with a highly mobile pupil population. Teachers,
school leaders and Representatives should contact the NASUWT if they believe that
inspectors are interpreting a school’s context very narrowly and this has an adverse impact
on how the school is judged in the inspection.
Inspection of equality matters
Inspectors should make equality judgements as part of their judgements about all areas of
the inspection framework. The inspection framework makes explicit reference to evaluating
the achievements of different groups of pupils, pupils’ behaviour and respect for others,
including freedom from bullying and harassment (including prejudice-based bullying and
harassment), and the extent to which leaders and managers provide a broad and balanced
curriculum that meets the needs of all pupils.
Whilst Ofsted has told the NASUWT that equality matters relating to staff should be picked
up under leadership and management, neither the inspection framework nor the evaluation
schedule make reference to inspecting equality issues that affect staff.
The Equality Act 2010 places a range of duties on schools, including the duty to eliminate
discrimination, advance equality and foster good relations between groups. Ofsted should
inspect and report on whether schools are complying with the Equality Act, including the
public sector duty.
Research, including research commissioned by the NASUWT8, shows that bullying and
harassment, including prejudice-related bullying and harassment, are significant issues for
teachers and that some groups of teachers encounter major barriers (e.g. women,
disabled, lesbian, gay bi-sexual and trans (LGBT), Black and minority ethnic (BME)
encounter throughout their teaching careers. Therefore, the NASUWT is extremely
concerned that the inspection frame work and evaluation schedule do not make explicit
reference to equality issues affecting staff.
Schools should use equality information about pupils, staff, parents/carers and the wider
community when they develop ideas, and to inform planning and decision making across
the school. This should include evidence about the needs and experiences of different
Schools should consult and engage pupils, staff, parents/carers and local communities in
planning and decision-making processes. This should include the school improvement,
school self-evaluation and performance management processes. It should also include
ideas and developments relating to the future direction of the school, including strategies
that affect or involve other schools, e.g. partnerships or teaching schools.
Schools should use equality evidence, including feedback about issues and the views and
needs of different groups of pupils, staff, parents/carers and communities, to establish
equality objectives. The objectives should be embedded in strategic plans. There should
be clear evidence that equality objectives are enacted and that they help to tackle and
prevent inequalities; that they advance equality systematically and strategically across the
For example: PRCI (2011) The Experience of Prejudice-Related Bullying amongst teachers and
headteachers in schools, Rednal, NASUWT; McNamara, Professor Olwen et al. (2008) No Job for a
Woman? The Impact of Gender in School Leadership; and McNamara, Professor Olwen et al. (2009) The
leadership aspirations of black and minority ethnic teachers, NASUWT, Rednal, and National College for
Leadership of Schools and Children’s Services, Nottingham.
school action, and that they help to foster good relations between groups within and
beyond the school.
Teachers, school leaders and NASUWT Representatives should monitor how the school
addresses equality matters through policies, procedures and practice. This process should
include looking at whether and how equality matters are identified and addressed through
school self-evaluation, and the accuracy of evaluations. It should also include looking at
how equality information is used in planning and decision making, including plans and
decisions that relate to the school improvement plan, the curriculum offer, and staff
recruitment, development, progression and welfare.
Teachers, school leaders and Representatives should support and challenge leaders and
managers to implement effective equality practice across the school. They should identify
and, where needed, support members who may be at risk of harassment or bullying or are
experiencing discrimination and inequalities.
Teachers, school leaders and Representatives should contact the NASUWT if they have
particular concerns about policy or practice in the school or if they have concerns about
the way in which inspectors cover equality issues when they inspect the school.
Inspection of a broad and balanced curriculum
Inspectors evaluate the extent to which a school provides a broad and balanced
curriculum that meets the needs of all pupils and enables them to achieve their full
potential. Inspectors also evaluate how well the school promotes pupils’ SMSC
development. In judging the promotion of pupils’ SMSC development, inspectors must
consider how well the school provides planned and coherent opportunities through the
curriculum and through interactions with teachers and other adults to enable pupils to:
reflect on the experiences provided by the school, use their imagination and
creativity and develop curiosity in learning;
gain a well-informed understanding of the options and challenges facing them as
they move through the school and on to the next stage of their education and
overcome their barriers to learning;
develop skills and attitudes to enable them to participate fully and positively in a
democratic and modern Britain and take part in a range of activities requiring social
develop and apply an understanding of right and wrong in their school life and life
respond positively to a range of artistic, sporting and other cultural opportunities
provided by the school; and
understand and appreciate the range of different cultures within the school and
further afield as an essential element of their preparation for life.
The NASUWT welcomes the fact that the inspection framework sets a clear expectation
that schools should provide pupils with a wide range of opportunities and experiences,
including opportunities to gain the knowledge and skills needed to make an active and
effective contribution to society, engage critically with issues relating to equality and justice
and take part in activities that contribute to social cohesion.
Ofsted evidence shows how a broad and balanced curriculum helps to raise pupils’
attainment, including attainment in core subjects.9 This shows that attainment in a broad
range of subjects, including science, humanities and the arts, helps to improve pupils’
confidence and self-esteem and their attainment in the core subjects. However, schools
are under particular pressure to demonstrate progress in the core subjects. For example,
inspectors use data about performance and progress in English/reading literacy and
maths, in particular, to form judgements about achievement. The introduction of the EBacc
has resulted in many schools narrowing their curriculum offer.10 School improvement
strategies may sometimes focus on securing improvements in the core subjects rather
than through a broad, balanced and rich curriculum offer. This has significant implications
for teachers’ jobs, as well as the quality of pupils’ learning experience.
Teachers, school leaders and NASUWT Representatives should challenge approaches to
school improvement that focus narrowly on core subjects at the expense of a broad and
balanced curriculum and can use the Ofsted inspection framework to support their
arguments. They should monitor proposals for curriculum changes very closely, looking, in
particular, at their likely impact on members’ jobs and on the quality, breadth and
relevance of the curriculum offer. They should raise any concerns with the headteacher
and contact the NASUWT if they need further advice or support.
The inspection arrangements allow inspectors to gather the views of staff by means of a
questionnaire. However, participation is voluntary and the headteacher will determine
whether or not the school will participate.
If a staff survey is carried out, individual staff can elect not to participate.
The views of staff are used to help inspectors plan the inspection. They are not normally
reported in the inspection report.
Staff have a significant and important contribution to make to the inspection process and
inspectors should seek and take account of their views. The NASUWT is concerned that
headteachers have the power to determine whether or not staff are surveyed for the
purposes of inspection. Representatives should seek an agreement with the headteacher
that staff will be invited to complete a survey for the purposes of inspection and that this
will be organised through the workforce unions.
The school should institute mechanisms to demonstrate that it actively consults staff and
works with school workforce unions. This can help to demonstrate good relations between
staff and school leaders.
Inspectors will talk to pupils about their perceptions of the school and may use pupil
questionnaires as part of the inspection process. Inspectors will talk to a range of pupils
from different groups for example, pupils from BME backgrounds, those from low-income
backgrounds and those who have SEN.
For example, Ofsted (October 2002) The curriculum in successful primary schools.
NASUWT (2011) English Baccalaureate Survey, NASUWT, Rednal.
The inspection framework includes an increased emphasis on what happens outside of
inspection. Inspectors may focus on particular pupils or groups of pupils and talk to them
about their experiences and views. For example, inspectors may talk to pupils about their
experiences of behaviour and safety over time and about their attitudes towards others,
and other pupils’ attitudes towards them.
The NASUWT supports the principle that schools should consult pupils about issues that
affect them. However, some school leaders use inspection to justify activities and
strategies that place pupils in roles where they can question and make judgements about
their teachers. There is some evidence that Ofsted promotes such activities. The
NASUWT believes that it is totally inappropriate for pupils to undertake lesson
observations, to sit on teacher recruitment panels or to be involved in any other activity
that enables them to question the professional integrity or judgement of the teacher.
Teachers, school leaders and NASUWT Representatives should challenge the
development of such practice in a school and contact the NASUWT if they have evidence
that inspectors are endorsing such practice or encouraging the school to adopt such
Teachers, school leaders and NASUWT Representatives should refer to the NASUWT’s
guidance on student voice for further information on how schools should address pupils’
Parents’ views and ‘Parent View’
When a school is notified that an inspection is to take place, it must take reasonable steps
to notify parents and carers. The governing body is required to send a standard letter and
questionnaire to parents. Inspectors will also make use of information that the school has
gathered about the views of parents.
Ofsted launched Parent View in October 2011. Parent View is an online survey that invites
parents to respond to a number of closed questions about their child’s school. The survey
does not include space for open text responses.
Parent View allows parents, schools and the general public to make comparisons between
a school’s results from one year to another and to compare results between schools.
Parents are required to register with Ofsted before they can use Parent View. Part of the
registration process includes the parent listing the school or schools that their
child/children attend(s). The system has a number of safeguards, for example, preventing
multiple responses from the same internet service provider (ISP) address.
Inspectors will use information from Parent View alongside other information when
undertaking the annual risk assessment or when preparing for an inspection. Ofsted says
that results from Parent View alone will not be sufficient to trigger a decision to inspect a
The NASUWT has serious concerns that Parent View could be open to misuse. For
example, Ofsted does not check whether a user is genuinely a parent of a pupil at a
particular school. Parents who have issues or who hold a grudge against a school are
much more likely to complete the survey than other parents. Parents could encourage their
friends and relatives to register as parents and give negative responses to the survey
The fact that Parent View can be used to compare the survey results of different schools
means that parents, pupils or staff in one school could register as parents in a rival school
and make negative comments about that school.
Teachers, school leaders and NASUWT Representatives should contact the NASUWT if
they have any concerns about the inappropriate use of Parent View in their school.
The role of the governing body
If a school is an academy, the school’s governing body carries out the management of the
academy on behalf of the Academy Trust at the Department for Education (DfE).
The governance of an academy is different to that of a maintained school. Some
academies for example, those that are part of a chain may have a central and local
The governing body of a school has a duty to send a letter to parent informing them of an
inspection and inviting them to complete a short questionnaire provided by Ofsted.
Governors are expected to take reasonably practicable steps to make sure that the
parents of pupils who have been excluded or are away from school have a chance to
Inspectors are required to make a judgement about the effectiveness of the governing
body in challenging and supporting the school so that weaknesses are tackled and
statutory responsibilities are met. In doing this, inspectors should evaluate how effectively
governors help to shape the direction of the school, how rigorously they challenge and
support leaders and managers and how well they fulfil their statutory responsibilities.
At least one member of the governing body should attend the feedback meeting at the end
Once the school receives a copy of the final report, the governing body is responsible for
ensuring that a copy of the report is sent to every parent.
Headteachers should contact the chair of governors and staff governors once notice of the
inspection is given and keep in contact with them and/or any other nominated governor
who will be involved in the inspection process.
The inspection framework sets out a clear expectation that governors will both support and
challenge the school and help to shape the direction of the school. The NASUWT is
concerned that this could mean that some governors seek to get involved in the day-to-day
running of the school or to increase their presence within the school for example, by
observing lessons or other activities. This is inappropriate. NASUWT Representatives
should advise staff governors to challenge attempts to introduce such practice and contact
the NASUWT if the governing body seeks to work in this way or if particular problems
occur in their school.
Schools graded inadequate
Schools that are graded inadequate may be placed in special measures or issued with a
notice to improve.
Headteachers are at particular risk if the school is deemed to be failing. All too often there
is pressure for them to be replaced. However, all staff can find themselves under immense
pressure and stress, and the governing body or school management may seek to
introduce measures that increase workload burdens on staff. This may take the form of
additional meetings, increased lesson observation and monitoring, complete reviews of
school policies and the introduction of bureaucratic procedures. Depending on the reasons
for a school being placed in special measures, some staff may find that the school begins
competence procedures. NASUWT Representatives and NASUWT headteacher members
should contact the NASUWT immediately for advice and support if the school is deemed to
The NASUWT will offer advice and support to members when schools are in difficulty as
the result of an inspection. It is important that NASUWT Representatives provide regular
feedback to the NASUWT where schools are experiencing problems as a result of being
placed in special measures or issued with a notice to improve.
Schools graded satisfactory11
Schools that are judged satisfactory in their last two inspections will receive monitoring
visits from Ofsted inspectors. Schools that have an overall effective judgement of
satisfactory and where behaviour is judged satisfactory, or where no main grades are
better than satisfactory, will also receive a monitoring visit.
Ofsted operates some no-notice monitoring visits. This means that inspectors could turn
up at the school unannounced or with just one hour’s notice.
During the monitoring visit, Ofsted inspectors will look for evidence that the school is
improving. If there is little or no evidence of improvement, then inspectors may bring
forward the school’s next full inspection.
The NASUWT has serious concerns about Ofsted’s attitude towards the satisfactory
category, and comments made by HMCI and other inspectors indicate that ‘satisfactory’ is
taken to mean ‘not good enough’. The NASUWT is particularly concerned about the
pressure that needing to demonstrate rapid improvement places on staff. The constant
In January 2012, Ofsted announced plans to replace the judgement of satisfactory with requires
improvement. This change is subject to the outcome of a consultation. See the section ‘Further changes to
inspection announced in January 2012’ for further information on the proposed changes.
threat that Ofsted could turn up at the school unannounced means that school leaders and
local authority advisers may try to introduce burdensome and bureaucratic systems for
monitoring performance and progress. NASUWT Representatives are advised to contact
the NASUWT if the school’s management or the local authority subject teachers to intense
scrutiny or require them to undertake excessive planning, preparation and assessment
(PPA) as a result of the school’s satisfactory judgement.
A copy of the draft inspection report is sent to the headteacher for comment about factual
accuracy. The school has one day to comment unless it is being placed in a category of
concern, in which case it will have five days to comment.
After receiving the final inspection report, schools have five working days to distribute the
report to parents and carers and to send a letter from the lead inspector to pupils.
Although time is short to consider the draft, it is good practice for the headteacher to try to
ensure that all members of staff are able to comment on it. This is particularly important if
a member of staff might be identifiable in the report because, for example, they are the
only teacher in that subject.
If feedback is not provided by inspectors during the course of the inspection, then the
headteacher should raise concerns with the lead inspector. If this is not possible, then the
headteacher should contact Ofsted’s inspection helpline (telephone 0300 123 1231).
The NASUWT continues to lobby against the use of the inspector’s letter to pupils. If there
are concerns about the content of the letter or there is an adverse reaction from pupils as
a result of the letter, the NASUWT should be contacted.
The role of the local authority and arrangements for academies
Local authorities are required to support and challenge the schools that they maintain that
are underperforming. This means that local authorities will target those schools. Local
authorities will draw on a range of evidence about a school’s performance, not simply the
reports from Ofsted inspections. If the local authority believes that the school’s
performance is ‘causing concern’, it may seek to work with the school to improve its
Local authorities have the power to issue a formal warning notice to a school allowing
them to intervene if they have concerns about that school. The Education Act (2011) gives
the Secretary of State for Education powers to intervene where schools are
underperforming. The Secretary of State is able to direct a local authority to issue a
warning notice and to close schools that are judged to be in special measures, require
significant improvement or have failed to comply with a notice to improve.
An academy’s governing body carries out the management of the academy on behalf of
the Academy Trust at the DfE. Any decisions about the need for a school to be supported
or challenged will be made by the Academy Trust.
Following an inspection, the lead inspector will normally give feedback to the headteacher,
the chair of the governing body, key external partners, a representative from the diocese
where appropriate; and a representative from the local authority, if the school is a
maintained school, or a representative from the DfE where the school is an academy or
about to become one.
In the case of maintained schools, a copy of the final inspection report is sent to the local
authority. In the case of academies, the inspection report is sent to the governing body.
Evidence reveals that some local authorities place extreme pressure on schools that are in
a category of concern. Schools that have been judged satisfactory but are seen as making
insufficient progress to improve are also at risk of these pressures. Feedback indicates
that local authorities may try to introduce highly bureaucratic and burdensome systems of
lesson planning, assessment, and monitoring and evaluation. The workload and pressure
generated have profound implications for the health and welfare of staff in the school. It is
vital that NASUWT Representatives monitor the nature and impact of local authority advice
and interventions and contact the NASUWT immediately if concerns are identified so that
the matter can be taken up with the school’s management, the local authority and, if
An academy will not receive support from a local authority if it is judged inadequate or is
failing to demonstrate that it is improving. Responsibility for academies rests with the
Secretary of State. It is unclear what support or challenge, if any, the DfE’s Academy
Trust, acting on behalf of the Secretary of State, might provide to academies. It is possible
that the governing body of the academy will be expected to identify and commission an
appropriate external body to provide this support and challenge. Equally, it is possible that
academies will only be subject to Ofsted monitoring visits and re-inspections. This has
profound implications for the quality of education and the welfare of staff and pupils in
these schools. The NASUWT would like feedback from members and NASUWT
Representatives in academies that have been judged inadequate or judged satisfactory
but where concerns have been raised that the school is not making adequate
improvements. The Union would welcome feedback on the role that the Academy Trust
plays in supporting the school, the procedures for accessing support and any pressures
placed on teachers and school leaders as a result of the steps taken.
The inspection report should not identify individual members of staff at a school.
Ofsted will not release inspectors’ notes or other inspection evidence to a third party and
use the exemptions that apply under the Freedom of Information Act. Ofsted has advised
that schools can use Sections 36 and 41 of the Freedom of Information Act to refuse a
request from a third party, such as a parent or a local newspaper, for a copy of the
Although individuals should not be indentified, it is often possible to identify an individual,
most notably the headteacher or a teacher who has sole responsibility for a particular
subject or area because of references to this role throughout the inspection report. If a
teacher believes that the reference in the report is inappropriate, they should raise this with
the headteacher and with the NASUWT.
Teachers, school leaders and NASUWT Representatives need to be alert to the possibility
that issues may arise once a report has been published. For example, parents, the
governing body, others within the school or the local media may use the information
contained in the report against a particular member of staff. Representatives should seek
to anticipate potential problems and raise any concerns with the headteacher and the
NASUWT. However, some problems may not be anticipated early enough. It is important
to contact the NASUWT as soon as an issue becomes apparent.
School leaders are advised to refuse any request for a copy of the school’s self-evaluation
from any external individual or organisation other than an appropriate local authority
officer, or DfE official in the case of academies.
Complaints to Ofsted from parents
Parents have the right to complain about schools to Ofsted, and Ofsted has the power to
investigate these complaints. Ofsted’s powers relate to complaints about the whole school
rather than complaints involving individual children. Generally, the parent will be expected
to have raised their concerns with the school before approaching Ofsted. The sort of
complaints that Ofsted might investigate include the school not providing a good enough
education, pupils not achieving as much as they should or their different needs not being
met, the school not being well led or managed, or pupils’ safety being neglected.
If Ofsted believes that the complaint is founded, it could decide to inspect the school. An
immediate inspection only occurs if the complaint is very serious. In other circumstances
the information may be kept on file and made available to the inspection team when the
school is next inspected.
The NASUWT has serious concerns about the way in which Ofsted responds to
complaints made by parents. Whilst it may be appropriate for Ofsted to inspect a school
where very serious complaints have been made, the Union is extremely concerned that
Ofsted keeps information about less serious complaints on file and that this information
may be given to the inspection team when the school is next inspected. The NASUWT
would like to hear from Representatives, headteachers or teachers in schools if a
complaint has been made against the school and where the complaint is picked up in a
A complaint about a teacher is not a ‘qualifying complaint’. If a qualifying complaint also
includes a complaint about an individual teacher, then Ofsted should remove the name of
the teacher. However, NASUWT Representatives need to remain vigilant. If they suspect
that they are implicated in a complaint, they should contact the NASUWT for advice and
Complaints about the inspection
If the school has a complaint about an inspection, the complaint should be made to the
lead inspector during the course of the inspection.
If it is not possible to make a complaint to the lead inspector or the lead inspector fails to
resolve the matter, the school should lodge a complaint with the Ofsted inspection helpline
(telephone 0300 123 1231). This may be done either during the course of an inspection or
following an inspection. Helpline advisers are responsible for supporting a resolution
regarding the concerns that have been raised.
Complaints about the inspection report should be raised with the lead inspector or
inspection service provider as soon as possible.
If the Ofsted inspection helpline fails to deal with the complaint adequately, then the school
can make a formal complaint to Ofsted. This should be done within 30 days of the
publication of the inspection report or at the end of the inspection if no report has been
published. In exceptional circumstances it is possible to lodge a complaint within three
months of the publication of the inspection report. However, what constitutes ‘exceptional
circumstances’ is not clarified and each case is considered on its own merits.
If the complaint is still not resolved satisfactorily, then the school can make a request to
the Independent Complaints Adjudication Service for Ofsted for an independent review.
If teachers, school leaders or NASUWT Representatives have a complaint about an
inspection, including the way in which the inspection was carried out, then they should
notify the NASUWT immediately outlining their concerns. These concerns should also be
raised with the headteacher as soon as they arise.
Ofsted is likely to respond to a request for an inspection from a member of staff, governor
or parent if it believes that there are serious concerns about standards or the welfare and
safety of pupils at the school. The NASUWT expects governors or members of staff to
discuss the matter with the headteacher and the NASUWT if they are considering making
such a request and before making it.
Members of staff, governors and parents can contact Ofsted to request an inspection if
they have serious concerns about standards or the welfare and safety of pupils at a school
but, again, the NASUWT advises contact with the Union before taking this action.
Further information about the inspection framework is available on the Ofsted website in
the section for schools at www.ofsted.gov.uk. Alternatively, contact the inspection helpline
on 0300 123 1231.
Subject and survey inspections
Ofsted carries out survey inspections on topics of national significance. Subject
inspections are carried out to gather more detailed information about specific subject and
curriculum areas. Both types of inspection involve representative samples of schools
across a region.
Whilst schools that have been judged outstanding are exempted from routine section 5
inspections, they are included in subject and survey inspections. If a subject inspection
raises concerns about a school’s performance, this should be picked up in the risk
assessment and could lead to the school being inspected as part of the section 5
Further information about inspection
The following Ofsted documents provide information about the inspection process,
including the descriptors that inspectors use to guide their inspection judgements, the
procedures for conducting inspections and the inspection of academies:
The framework for school inspection: Guidance and grade descriptors for inspecting
schools in England under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 from January 2012,
Ofsted, January 2012
The evaluation schedule for the inspection of maintained schools and academies:
Guidance and grade descriptors for inspecting schools under section 5 of the
Education Act 2005 from January 2012, Ofsted, January 2012
Conducting school inspections: Guidance for the inspection of schools in England
under section 5 of the Education Act 2005 from January 2012, Ofsted, January 2012
Academies: Supplementary guidance for section 5 inspections of academies
established before September 2011, Ofsted, September 2011
Subsidiary guidance: supporting the inspection of maintained schools and academies
from January 2012, Ofsted, January 2012.