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Preparing for Ofsted

The thought of an impending Ofsted inspection can cause feelings of worry, stress and anxiety but preparing yourself and practicing the process can help. See how Honeyguide can support you.

Ofsted Inspection Preparation Pack

Waiting for the Ofsted phone call, worried you aren’t ‘ready’ or wondering what you should do next? This pack is designed to share valuable insights into the entire Ofsted inspection process, including the latest updates and requirements, tips for preparing your school for inspection and strategies for supporting and upskilling your team.

Most popular resource

Your key Ofsted inspection questions answered

What is the Education Inspection Framework (EIF)? What is the Schools Inspection Handbook? What's the difference between the two?

The Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and the School Inspection Handbook are both key components of the Ofsted inspection process, but they serve different purposes.  

The EIF is a broader framework that outlines the principles and key judgments that Ofsted inspectors use during inspections. It provides the overarching structure for inspections across various educational settings, emphasizing the quality of education, behavior and attitudes, personal development, and leadership.  

On the other hand, the School Inspection Handbook is a more detailed document that accompanies the EIF. It provides specific guidance and details on how inspectors should conduct inspections. The handbook includes information on the inspection process, the evidence inspectors gather, and the criteria they use to make judgments about a school's performance.

What happens during an Ofsted inspection?

During an Ofsted inspection, a team of inspectors assesses various aspects of the school's performance to provide a comprehensive evaluation. The inspection process typically involves observations, meetings, and document reviews. Inspectors focus on key areas such as the quality of education, behavior and attitudes, personal development, and leadership and management, because these are the areas that are judged in the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework (EIF) and Ofsted Schools Inspection Handbook.  

Typically, inspectors conduct classroom observations to assess the quality of teaching and learning. They may also speak to pupils and scrutinise pupils' work in order to triangulate the evidence they see. 

Inspectors will likely conduct meetings with school leaders, teachers, support staff and governors to gain insights into the school's leadership, management, and the overall learning environment. This often includes meetings with subject leaders as part of deep dives, which allows them to gain a more detailed understanding of the school's intent, implementation and impact for the chosen subject. 

They will also investigate safeguarding, and may carry out checks on documents like the school's single central record. This can include whether pupils feel safe in school and if any issues prevail, such as bullying.  

Depending on their findings throughout the inspection, inspectors may request more information or want to see evidence from different areas, e.g. other subjects. This is so they can gain enough evidence to give the school an overall grading.   

At the end of the inspection, inspectors often provide verbal feedback on their findings. However, the final report, including the inspection outcomes and detailed feedback, is provided later in written form.  

The full process, including everything Ofsted look at, is a lot more detailed than this short answer so be sure to check Honeyguide's resources and/or the Ofsted website for further information.

How can I prepare for an Ofsted Inspection?

Ofsted's purpose is to ensure education standards are high to give children the best life chances. It's likely your school also wants the very best for its pupils so in this sense, there is nothing additional that you need to 'prepare' for Ofsted. However, many schools like to feel ready for the inspection process by understanding what will take place, having documentation prepared and ensuring staff (especially subject leaders) feel ready.

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