Ofsted inspection update: an overview of the changes

The guidance has been updated. View the changes and updates at: New Ofsted inspection framework: what you need to know


Answered by John Viner

I just saw that Ofsted has published new inspection documents. As we’re expecting an inspection, please can you explain what has changed?


The new Ofsted framework and inspection handbook are effective from September 2015. ‘Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies’ guidance is effective from September 2014.

The main changes

  • This is a common inspection framework (CIF) that applies to four remits: EYFS, schools, post-16 and non-association independent schools.
  • There are separate handbooks for each of the four remits.
  • The headline judgement continues to be that for overall effectiveness.
  • Teaching now includes learning and assessment.
  • Behaviour now includes personal development and welfare.
  • Achievement is now ‘outcomes’.
  • Early Years and 6th Form continue to be reported separately.
  • Safeguarding remains a limiting judgement.
  • SMSC, the promotion of British values and combating radicalisation are of raised importance.
  • A new specific focus on the teaching of literacy and maths and how well teaching enables pupils to grasp concepts and deepen their understanding.
  • Ofsted will not expect any particular style of planning, teaching or assessment and recommendations should be phrased not to add to teachers’ workload.

An overview of specific changes


Inspectors will now consider how well leaders:

  • demonstrate an ambitious vision, have high expectations for what all children and pupils can achieve and ensure high standards of provision
  • improve staff practice, teaching, learning and assessment through rigorous performance management and appropriate professional development
  • evaluate the quality of the provision and outcomes through robust self- assessment
  • provide a curriculum that has suitable breadth, depth and relevance
  • successfully plan and manage the curriculum so that all pupils get a good start and are well prepared for the next stage in their education, training or employment
  • actively promote equality and diversity, tackle bullying and discrimination and narrow any gaps in achievement between different groups of pupils
  • actively promote British values

  • make sure that safeguarding arrangements to protect children and young people meet all statutory and other government requirements, promote their welfare and prevent radicalisation and extremism.

Teaching, learning and assessment

Inspectors will consider the extent to which:

  • teachers have consistently high expectations of what each pupil can achieve, including the most able and the most disadvantaged
  • teachers have a secure understanding of the age group they are working with and have relevant detailed subject knowledge
  • assessment information is gathered from looking at what pupils already know, understand and can do, and is informed by their parents/previous providers.
  • assessment information is used to plan appropriate teaching and learning strategies, including identifying pupils who are falling behind
  • pupils understand how to improve as a result of useful feedback from staff
  • engagement with parents, carers and employers helps them to understand how children and pupils are doing in relation to the standards expected and what they need to do to improve 

  • equality of opportunity and recognition of diversity are promoted through teaching and learning
  • the school promotes English, mathematics and other skills necessary to function as an economically active member of British society.

Personal development, behaviour and welfare

There will be separate judgements for behaviour and personal development and welfare. Where the judgements differ, the lower of the two will determine the overall judgement.

Inspectors will evaluate the extent to which the provision is successfully promoting and supporting pupils’:

  • pride in achievement and commitment to learning, supported by a positive culture
  • self-confidence, self-awareness and understanding of how to be a successful pupil
  • choices about the next stage of their education, employment, self- employment or training
  • employability skills so that they are well prepared for the next stage of their education, employment, self-employment or training
  • prompt and regular attendance
  • management of their own feelings and behaviour, and how they relate to others
  • understanding of how to keep themselves safe from relevant risks
  • knowledge of how to keep themselves healthy, both emotionally and physically
  • personal development, so that they are well prepared to contribute to wider society and life in Britain

Outcomes for pupils

Inspectors will take account of current standards and progress, including the school’s own data, and make a judgement on academic and other outcomes for pupils by evaluating the extent to which they:

  • progress well from their different starting points and achieve or exceed standards expected for their age 

  • attain relevant qualifications so that they can progress to the next stage of their education.

Inspectors will be mainly concerned with the learning and progress of pupils currently in the school.


Maintained schools, academies and non-association independent schools that have Early Years Foundation Stage provision are given a separate grade for that provision.

This contributes to the judgement about the overall effectiveness of the school. Provision for two-year-olds in schools is inspected as part of a school inspection.

6th Form

Maintained schools, academies and non-association independent schools are given a separate grade for sixth form (post-16) provision. This contributes to the judgement about the overall effectiveness of the school.

By John Viner

Last Updated: 
16 Jul 2015

Ask the Experts service

The Ask the Experts service is for subscribers only. Subscribers can be expected to rely on this service to provide advice from experts on how to deal with challenging situations. We take seriously our responsibility to provide this advice in good faith and to the best of our ability, and we will always do our utmost to live up to this responsibility. You should independently verify any information and content on this website before relying on it. Please see our full Terms and Conditions when using this service.

Do you have a question? Ask our expert panel