What is Ofsted?
Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect and regulate services that care for children and young people, and services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. Ofsted report directly to Parliament and we are independent and impartial.
inspecting maintained schools and academies, some independent schools, and many other educational institutions and programmes outside of higher education
inspecting childcare, adoption and fostering agencies and initial teacher training
publishing reports of our findings so they can be used to improve the overall quality of education and training
regulating a range of early years and children’s social care services, making sure they’re suitable for children and potentially vulnerable young people
reporting to policymakers on the effectiveness of these services
System of inspection
A framework for inspections of academies and maintained schools was introduced from January 2012, and replaced with another new framework in September 2012. After an inspection of a school, Ofsted published a report on the school on its website. In addition to written comments on a number of areas, schools were assessed on each area and overall on a 4-point scale: 1 (Outstanding), 2 (Good), 3 (Requires Improvement) and 4 (Inadequate). Among other recent changes, the current system relabelled the “Satisfactory” category as “Requires Improvement”, with an expectation that schools should not remain at that level.
Timings of inspections
Inspections can take place at any point after the end of 5 working school days in the autumn term. For example, if pupils return to school on a Wednesday, inspection can take place as early as the following Wednesday. In exceptional circumstances an inspection might be cancelled or deferred after a request from the school. Normally, however, if pupils are receiving education in the school, an inspection will go ahead.
How often a school is inspected depends on the findings of its previous inspection.
Schools judged ‘outstanding’
Some categories of schools judged outstanding at their most recent inspection are exempt from routine inspection, although they can be inspected if Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector or the Secretary of State for Education has concerns about performance. They may also be inspected as part of Ofsted’s survey work.
Schools judged ‘good’
A school judged good at its most recent inspection will receive a one-day short inspection, approximately every 3 years, as long as the quality of education remains good. Good schools can have their short inspections converted to section 5 inspections if the schools performance has improved or declined.
Schools judged ‘requires improvement’
A school judged as requires improvement may be monitored by Ofsted and will normally have a full (section 5) re-inspection after around 2 years.
Schools judged ‘inadequate’
When Ofsted judges a school inadequate, it places the school in a category of concern. This means Ofsted judges the school either to have serious weaknesses or to require special measures.
An academy judged as having serious weaknesses that is not re-brokered with a new sponsor will receive monitoring inspections by Ofsted. Ofsted will re-inspect under section 5 within 18 months of the school’s last full inspection.
An academy judged to require special measures that is not re-brokered with a new sponsor will usually receive its first monitoring inspection (under section 8) within 3 to 6 months of its last full inspection. The academy will usually have a full (section 5) inspection within 2 years of its last full inspection.
What is SIAMS?
Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools
All Church of England dioceses and the Methodist Church use the National Society’s framework for the Statutory Inspection of Anglican and Methodist Schools (SIAMS) under Section 48 of the Education Act 2005. The framework sets out the expectations for the conduct of the Statutory Inspection of Anglican, Methodist and ecumenical Schools under Section 48 of the Education Act 2005 and provides a process for evaluating the extent to which church schools are “distinctively and recognisably Christian institutions”.
SIAMS inspection focuses on the effect that the Christian ethos of the church school has on the children and young people who attend it. Church schools will employ a variety of strategies and styles, which reflect their particular local context or church tradition in order to be distinctive and effective. Inspectors will, therefore, not be looking to apply a preconceived template of what a church school should be like.
The principal objective of SIAMS inspection is to evaluate the distinctiveness and effectiveness of the school as a church school.
Towards this objective, inspectors seek answers to four key questions.
How well does the school, through its distinctive Christian character, meet the needs of all learners?
What is the impact of collective worship on the school community?
How effective is the Religious Education? (in VA schools and academies)
How effective are the leadership and management of the school as a church school?