Ofsted requirements for schools

The complete and detailed list of Ofsted requirements for schools can be read in their School inspection handbook. Here we will highlight some of the most commonly asked questions in the subject, namely, a partial list of activities Ofsted will not perform and elements they will not require from schools during an inspection as these are the topics that can create misunderstanding the most for educators.

 

Ofsted will not:

    • Grade individual lessons
    • Create unnecessary workload for teachers through its recommendations
    • Routinely check personnel files, although it may look at a small sample
    • Advocate a particular method of planning (including lesson planning), teaching or assessment

 

Ofsted does not require schools to provide:

    • Photographic evidence of pupils’ work (although inspectors may request to take photographs themselves of pupils’ work, which will be anonymised)
    • Any written record of teachers’ oral feedback to pupils
    • Individual or previous lesson plans
    • Predictions of attainment and progress scores
    • Assessment or self-evaluation, other than that which is already part of the school’s business processes
    • Performance and pupil-tracking information
    • Monitoring of teaching and learning and its link to teachers’ professional development and the teachers’ standards, other than that which is already part of the school’s normal activity
    • Specific details of the pay grade of individual teachers who are observed during inspection
    • Anonymised lists of teachers meeting or not meeting performance thresholds for pay progression
    • Recordings of live lessons, unless they are normally stored for the staff or pupils’ future use

 

Ofsted does not require schools to:

    • Carry out a specified amount of lesson observation
    • Use the Ofsted evaluation schedule to grade teaching or individual lessons
    • Ensure a particular frequency or quantity of work in pupils’ books or folders
    • Include targets relating to the proportion of good or better teaching in headteacher objectives
    • Take any specific steps with regard to site security; in particular, inspectors do not have a view about the need for perimeter fences
    • Take any specific steps to identify or track pupils or the work of individual pupils who would be included within the calculation of government pupil premium funding, other than that required for their pupil premium strategy
    • Carry out assessment or record pupils’ achievements in any subject, including foundation subjects in primary schools, in a specific way, format or time
    • Produce a self-evaluation document or summary in a particular format

 

stacks of books and paper

Photo by Wesley Tingey on Unsplash

 

What does Ofsted look for in safeguarding?

Ofsted handles safeguarding as a central issue throughout its policies and practices — here are the important highlights from the Ofsted school inspection handbook

Effective safeguarding in schools, according to Ofsted, is:

    • When the best interests of students are kept in mind, they are protected online and offline
    • When children who need early help, are at risk of harm or have been harmed (including but not limited to neglect, abuse, grooming or exploitation), are identified
    • When help for children is secured and when needed, is referred quickly and by experts
    • When recruitment is safe and allegations about adults are managed who might be a risk to children or vulnerable adults

 

Ineffective safeguarding in schools, according to Ofsted, is:

    • When safeguarding allegations about staff are not handled appropriately
    • When children do not feel safe in school
    • When children have little confidence that their school is addressing related concerns
    • When students are frequently missing from school but it’s not addressed by the staff
    • When bullying, prejudiced and discriminatory behaviour are common

It’s worth noting that safeguarding is not graded by inspectors but is examined in a written judgement under the “leadership and management” report.