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Ofsted Phone Call

It's something that headteachers, principals and senior leaders dread the thought of - the Ofsted phone call. But understanding the process, including practicing how you might answer certain questions, can be one way to ease nerves. See how Honeyguide can help you with this.

Ofsted Phone Call Preparation Pack

Waiting for the Ofsted phone call or wondering what it entails? Want to be prepared for when the time comes? This pack is designed to give you an inside look into what to expect when that Ofsted phone call comes through and the questions you’re likely to be asked so you can feel prepared and confident.

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Your key Ofsted phone call questions answered

How do Ofsted gather information about my school before they call?

Before making the phone call to notify a school of an impending inspection, Ofsted conducts a preliminary review of available information about the school. This process involves examining the school's website and data available on the Inspection Data Summary Report (ISDR), sometimes known as the Ofsted 'data dashboard'.   

Ofsted inspectors use this initial information to gain insights into the school's overall performance, suspected strengths and areas for improvement, performance data trends, and any significant changes or developments since the last inspection.  This preliminary review helps Ofsted tailor the focus of the upcoming inspection and ensures that inspectors have a foundational understanding of the school's context. It's for this reason that many schools aim to maintain accurate and up-to-date information online, as this initial review informs the inspection process and contributes to a more targeted and effective evaluation of the school's performance.

What happens when we get the Ofsted phone call?

When your school receives the Ofsted phone call, it initiates the beginning of the inspection process. Typically, this starts with an administrative call with an inspection support administrator and you'll be given an approximate time when Ofsted will call the school again.   

Ofsted will then ring the school to speak to school leaders. This is typically a 90-minute phone call with the lead inspector. In this, you'll discuss your school's strengths and weakeness, alongside other important information. This allows the lead inspector to determine some of their lines of enquiry for the inspection, as well as sharing other necessary information, such as what documents you need to upload to the Ofsted portal.

What's the difference between the first phone call and the 90-minute Ofsted phone call?

The first Ofsted phone call, also known as the initial notification call, will be with an Ofsted inspection support administrator, not an inspector. This call will come through to the school office, where they’ll ask to speak with the headteacher or the most senior staff member available.

The inspection support administrator will provide details about

the inspection dates, the lead inspector’s name, their experience and specialisms and any additional inspectors who may attend. The headteacher will also receive an approximate time for a 90-minute phone call with the lead inspector.

It's during this second 90-minute phone call where headteachers and/or senior leader will discuss the school’s progress and areas for improvement, strengths and weaknesses, and any specific areas of focus for the inspection.

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