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Schools: For Children and young people

Inspecting schools

School inspections are required by the government to help parents judge how good a school is and to help schools improve.

Ofsted inspects most schools every few years. We inspect weaker schools more frequently and only inspect outstanding schools when they don't seem to be performing as well as before. We write an independent report of the quality of the school, and check whether pupils are achieving as much as they can.

When schools are notified of their inspection, they are asked to provide the inspectors with some information that they keep, before the inspection begins. This may include an evaluation of their provision.

The inspection

Before they arrive at a school inspectors analyse the information provided by the school and other information that Ofsted already holds or is publicly available. When they arrive, they talk to the headteacher, governors (in maintained schools), staff, pupils, parents and carers. They also observe a range of lessons and consider the effectiveness of key leaders and managers.

Making all inspections consistent 

When we inspect a school, inspectors have agreed guidance to follow:

For further information, go to the pages on the left.