Revised Guidance For Inspections Of Non-association Independent Schools


On 31 July 2014, Ofsted published the revised guidance for inspections of maintained schools and academies. We announced that we had significantly reduced the amount of published guidance for inspectors, schools and other stakeholders, and that many elements of previous guidance documents are now included in a new training programme for inspectors.

We have taken the same approach with the guidance documents for inspections of non-association independent schools. There are now only three guidance documents: The framework for inspecting non-association independent schools, Non-association independent school inspection handbook, which we have published today and Conducting additional inspections of independent schools, which will be published in due course.

Inspectors will use this new guidance for the inspection of non-association independent schools from September 2014.

In addition, the document Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies applies to inspections of independent schools, since the responsibilities placed on all types of schools and colleges to safeguard and promote the welfare of children are the same.

In the context of inspecting independent schools, all references to the School inspection handbook contained in Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies should be considered to refer instead to the Non-association independent school inspection handbook. Any references to meeting relevant regulations and duties contained in Inspecting safeguarding in maintained schools and academies are considered to include the requirement for independent schools to comply with The Education (Independent School Standards) (England) Regulations 2010, as amended.

Key changes

  • In line with our commitment to ensure alignment between the frameworks for inspecting non-association independent schools and maintained schools and academies, there is no fundamental change to inspection methodology. In inspections from September 2014 inspectors will:
    • make graded judgements for early years and sixth form provision
    • make separate written judgements on behaviour and safety in inspection reports
    • no longer record on evidence forms a grade on the quality of teaching for individual lesson observations
    • pay even greater attention to a school’s curriculum to ensure that it is appropriately broad and balanced to help prepare young people for life in modern Britain.
  • The inspection handbook makes clear that the most important role of teaching is to promote learning and the acquisition of knowledge by pupils and to raise achievement. It reiterates Ofsted’s stated policy that we have no preferred teaching style; it is up to the classroom teacher to determine how they should teach.
  • There is clear guidance for inspectors on the duties and responsibilities of those in governance roles.


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