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About us

Services we inspect or regulate

Find out more about the services we inspect or regulate in the sections below:

Inspection

Our specialist inspectors are experts in the type of service they inspect. When they carry out an inspection, be it of a children’s home, a nursery, a school, a college, or a local authority, they focus on the quality of the service for individual children, young people or older learners. During an inspection, inspectors collect first-hand evidence based on the practice they observe and what they learn from the people using the service. They use this evidence and other information available to make their professional judgements which we publish in inspection reports.

To find an inspection report, go to the Find an inspection report page.

We inspect the following services:

  • maintained schools and academies
  • some independent schools
  • early years and childcare
  • children’s centres; children’s homes
  • family centres
  • adoption and fostering services and agencies
  • Cafcass
  • children’s services in local authorities
  • initial teacher training
  • further education colleges and 14 to 19 provision
  • a wide range of work-based learning and skills training
  • adult and community learning
  • probation services
  • and education and training in prisons and other secure establishments.

Regulation

For a range of early years and children’s social care services, we also act as a regulator, checking that people, premises and the services provided are suitable to care for children and potentially vulnerable young people. Where childcare or children’s social care providers do not meet the required standards, we require them to take the necessary action to improve or do not license them to operate.

If you have any concerns about a childcare or social care provider, please go to the How to complain page.

In-depth surveys and good practice studies

We also investigate and report on the quality of provision in National Curriculum subjects and aspects of social care, childcare, education, and learning and skills. In these surveys we use our rights of access, and our ability to make expert judgements on the effectiveness of services, to provide unique evidence to local and national policymakers. We share what we find, so those organisations that provide services can learn from what is working well and what is not. And we highlight good practice by publishing reports and individual case studies, drawing on the full range of evidence available.

More information about our survey reports can be found on our Surveys page

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