Living in the UK

Ofsted Inspection Reports

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages and inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people. This article provides information about who Ofsted are and why their inspection reports may be important to you.

Who are Ofsted?

Put simply, Ofsted aims to improve children and young people’s lives by raising the standards in education and children’s social care. They inspect thousands of organisations and individuals providing education, training and care. Ofsted completes their inspection and conducts a report of their findings, giving out a final mark.

Ofsted report directly to Parliament, parents, carers and commissioners. They currently have around 1,800 employees across 8 regions including:

  • East Midlands
  • East of England
  • North East, Yorkshire and Humber
  • North West
  • South East
  • South West
  • West Midlands
  • London

Inspecting, regulating and reporting

Ofsted are responsible for inspecting, regulating and then reporting.


They inspect organisations such as schools and academies, colleges, apprenticeship providers, prison education and other educational institutions. Not forgetting childcare organisations, adoption and fostering agencies, initial teacher training and teacher development as well as local authorities.


Ofsted then regulates a range of early years and children’s social care services, making sure they’re suitable for children and potentially vulnerable young people.


They will publish reports of their findings from the inspection and these can be used to improve the overall quality of education.

Values and priorities

Ofsted states their values are “We put children and learners first, and we are independent, evidence-led, accountable and transparent”.

Their current 2022-27 strategy includes the following priorities:

  • Inspections that raise standards: Ofsted inspections help education and social care recover and improve.
  • Right-touch regulation: Ofsted regulation advances high-quality care, education and safeguarding for children.
  • Making the most of insights: sharing insights through their research and analysis. The insights inform practitioners, policymakers and decision-makers and lead to improvements across the system.
  • The best start in life: they will develop the evidence base about early years education, including curriculum and pedagogy, and act on it.
  • Keeping children safe: promoting children’s safety and welfare in everything they do.
  • Keeping pace with sector changes: keeping pace as the education and social care sectors evolve. Continually review the approach and advocate for additional powers where required.
  • Accessible and engaged: being open and accessible to the different audiences, understanding their needs.
  • A skilled workforce: making sure they have the tools, knowledge and expertise which is needed to continue to be a force for improvement

Ofsted gradings

Grade 1 – Outstanding

An outstanding organisation provides extraordinarily well for the requirements of the children and young people. The provision does exceedingly well in preparing them for the next stage of their education or employment. To be graded ‘outstanding’, the setting must securely and consistently reach this grade in each of the four key judgement areas and in overall effectiveness. The institution’s safeguarding must also be deemed to be effective. In exceptional circumstances, where one of the key judgement areas has been marked as ‘good’, the school may still receive an ‘outstanding’ grading overall if inspectors believe it is deserved.

Grade 2 – Good

A good organisation provides well for the requirements of the children and young people, preparing them for the next stage of their education or employment to a reliable level. Settings are rated as ‘good’ when the quality of education is rated as at least good and the other key judgement areas are also rated as good or outstanding. Safeguarding must be deemed to be effective. There may be occasions when a provision is rated as ‘good’ overall but one of the grades for the key judgements is ‘requires improvement’. This is at the inspector’s discretion, but is likely to be because the school has shown evidence of actively improving in this area.

Grade 3 – Requires improvement

An organisation that requires improvement is not at an insufficient level, nor are they sufficient. Settings which are rated as ‘requiring improvement’ will be given another full Ofsted inspection within two years to keep an eye on their progress. To get this grade, the setting’s safeguarding must still be effective, or at least any failings easily rectifiable, with no children or pupils at risk of harm.

Grade 4 – Inadequate

An inadequate organisation has notable weaknesses and is failing to ready their children and young people successfully for the next stages of their education or employment. A setting will be graded as ‘inadequate’ when any one of the key judgements is inadequate and often, but not always, alongside ineffective safeguarding.

Grade 4 is the lowest grading an inspector can give a setting. If they receive a grade 4, it means they are failing to provide basic and acceptable quality of care and education. The setting is then required to make significant improvements immediately and more regular inspections will then be carried out to ensure these changes take place and remain in place.

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