New Ofsted inspection framework: what you need to know

Ofsted has published its new inspection framework, which will be implemented from September 2019. Lisa Griffin summarises the changes and what schools need to know

Author details

Lisa Griffin is content lead at Optimus Education, focusing on leadership and governance. 

Ofsted received more than 15,000 responses to their consultation on proposed changes to the inspection framework. Following this, the finalised inspection framework has been published. 

Inspection judgements

Ofsted has put curriculum at the core of the framework by replacing teaching and learning and pupil outcomes as separate inspection judgements with a new 'quality of education' grade.

It will assess the intent, implementation and impact of a school’s curriculum alongside pupils’ results. 

Schools will be graded in the following areas.

  • Quality of education
  • Behaviour and attitudes
  • Personal development
  • Leadership and management

Schools will continue to receive one of the following overall inspection grades.

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires improvement
  • Inadequate.

What’s changed?

Quality of education judgement

Ofsted’s new quality of education judgement will be implemented but they will phase in judging a schools’ ‘intent’ regarding the curriculum.

They will review the transitional phase in summer 2020. During the transition, they will look at whether school leaders ‘have a plan for updating the curriculum and are taking genuine action to do so’.

Inspectors will gather evidence of their inspection of the curriculum through:

  • lesson visits
  • work scrutiny
  • discussions with teachers and pupils
  • an evaluation of senior leaders’ intent for their school’s curriculum and their understanding of how it is being implemented.

Separate judgements for behaviour and attitudes and personal development

For the behaviour and attitudes judgment, inspectors will ask whether leaders, teachers and practitioners have high expectations for learners and implement these consistently and fairly. They will look at whether this is evident in the behaviour and attitudes of learners.

Inspectors will also focus on whether providers tolerate bullying or harassment of learners and staff and how they deal with it effectively.

The new personal development judgement will consider the quality of pastoral support available to learners and what is done to help develop character, resilience and values. 

Inspectors will also look at the provider’s advice and support to help learners succeed in life.

Pre-inspection phone call

Ofsted have introduced a 90-minute phone call between a headteacher and lead inspector to take place the day before an inspection begins.

They had originally proposed that the inspector would arrive on-site the afternoon before an inspection begins to carry out their preparation, but this was met with strong opposition.

Short inspections increase to two days

Ofsted have confirmed plans to extend the length of section 8 inspections (also known as short inspections) for good and non-exempt outstanding schools from one to two days.

Only good schools with fewer than 150 pupils will continue to receive one-day inspections. 

Inspecting internal data

Ofsted inspectors will no longer look at schools’ internal performance and attainment data during inspections. 

Instead, inspectors will review the conclusions leaders have reached regarding internal data, the actions they have then taken and the impact of those actions.


Last Updated: 
15 May 2019