Sign In

Welcome to the DigiBase Ofsted support site.  Here you will be able to find useful information and resources to support your school in preparing for an inspection. Graham Crerar, one of the Civica eLearning Consultants has trained, under the new framework, to become an Ofsted Inspector and keeps us all up to date with the latest developments and information here.

Latest guidance on parent view

Here is the latest guidance from Ofsted for schools to encourage parents to use Parent View. Ofsted look at parents views via this so it is worth ensuring you get a fair representation of views on there.

21st February 2014

Find the document here...

Ofsted to carry out no notice behaviour inspections in response to concerns of parents

31 Jan 2014

The Chief Inspector of Ofsted today announced the start of a rolling programme of unannounced visits to schools where standards of behaviour are giving cause for concern.

Sir Michael Wilshaw has vowed to tackle what he calls 'a culture of casual acceptance' of low-level disruption and poor attitudes to learning which he believes is holding back too many of England's schools.

Ofsted's Annual Report published in December showed that 700,000 pupils were attending schools where behaviour needed to improve. Sir Michael said polling of parents regularly showed that good discipline and behaviour in the classroom was their number one concern – but the issue was often much further down the priority list of schools themselves.

Speech: by Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector 15th January 2014 at the North of England Education Conference, Nottingham

He is looking at teachers training.

He concludes his speech with:

'So my message to teachers at the start of the New Year is an upbeat one. Exercise your new powers. Be masters of your own destiny. Refuse to be cowed. Refuse to be victims. Refuse to be people that things happen to and become people who make things happen. Do not be frightened; assert your authority.

Teachers have been given exceptional freedom. I think it's time we used it.'

He is expecting inspectors to look at teacher training and from September, in every section 5 school inspection, inspectors will meet with NQTs to ask them if they are being well supported, particularly in dealing with pupil behaviour.

 Inspectors will also be asking:

•Are staff ready for the significant changes to the curriculum?

•How is the school's assessment model linked to the programmes of study and schemes of work in the new curriculum?

•Is there an effective training programme in place?

•Are your teachers geared up to teach for linear rather than modular examinations?

Read the full speech here…

The battle against mediocrity – some comments from the latest Ofsted annual report.

Better teaching and more effective leadership mean that more children in England have a better chance of attending a good or better school. Nearly eight in 10 schools in England are now good or better, which is the highest proportion since Ofsted was founded 20 years ago.1 Around 485,000 more primary school pupils and 188,000 more secondary school pupils attend a good or better school than last year.

Accountability has played a critical part in this success. It is no surprise that several countries around the world are imitating the way we inspect in England, including some countries that had abolished inspection regimes only to see outcomes decline. Our new frameworks have raised expectations and established that only 'good' is good enough. This has helped the system to challenge mediocrity. In schools, for example, more is now done when a school is judged as requires improvement than happened previously following a judgement of satisfactory.

A changing landscape: academies and trusts are now well established. The significant growth in the number of academies over the last few years has helped to raise standards in some of our weakest schools. More than half of all secondary schools are now academies and many of these are in federations, clusters and trusts.

The barrier to excellence is inconsistency. Serious challenges remain. If these are not addressed, it will be difficult for England to move from average to excellent outcomes. Nearly a quarter of a million pupils still languish in inadequate schools and a further 1.5 million are in schools that require improvement because they are not yet good. Secondary schools do not do as well as primary schools overall. Too many apprenticeships are inadequate. These are all major concerns.

Three factors are impeding educational progress:

•too much mediocre teaching and weak leadership

•regional variation in the quality of education

•the significant underachievement of children from low‑income families, particularly White children.

A good lesson is one where children are attentive, challenged, acquire knowledge and make progress. Our judgements about the quality of teaching are predicated not on the style of teaching, but on the amount of useful learning that takes place in the lesson. But classrooms must be orderly places. We have accepted for far too long minor disruption and inattention in schools. Around 700,000 pupils attend schools where behaviour needs to improve. Unless this changes, teachers will struggle to create an environment in which all children learn well. Furthermore, if teaching becomes a daily struggle to maintain order in the classroom, not only will standards decline but good teachers will leave the profession.

The best teaching does not happen by accident. A key responsibility of school and college leaders is to provide an inspiring and disciplined environment in which all teachers, including those new to the profession, can thrive. In the best schools, all teachers should see good or better practice and be challenged to match the best. This year, headteachers have told inspectors that the quality of new entrants to teaching is improving, particularly in secondary schools. Schools must take advantage of this. It is important that the most talented teachers are nurtured and developed to become the leaders of tomorrow.

Weak leadership must be challenged to improve; strong governance is therefore critical. Although the quality of leadership is improving, 18% of schools still have leadership that is less than good.4 Where leadership was judged inadequate, leaders had rarely updated their own skills, or monitored the quality of teaching, or understood what constitutes effective teaching. Their aspirations for the school and its pupils were low. They were rarely challenged by governors and, in some cases, resisted attempts by local authorities and other agencies to provide support.

Invariably, weak and ineffective schools have governing bodies that do not challenge the school to do better. In around 400 schools inspected this year, governing bodies were so weak that inspectors recommended an external independent review of governance. It is worrying to note that, in a few of these schools, the governors did not quickly act on this recommendation.

Regional variation is holding some children and young people back. For the first time, I am publishing reports on standards in each of England's regions. These will provide greater insight into what people should expect from their local schools and colleges. We must focus minds, across the country, on where schools and colleges need to improve. If a school or college is not doing well enough, then key stakeholders such as parents, governors and local councillors should all demand an explanation and ask, 'who will make it better? In truth, England is a patchwork of provision. There are disadvantaged areas that provide an excellent education and affluent regions that could do much better.

Sir Michael Wilshaw's speech on school leadership.

I think all of us in this room have a pretty clear idea about what raises attainment – high-quality teaching, rigorous assessment, strong intervention when it's needed, effective use of additional funds, including the pupil premium, an aspirational culture where high expectations permeate every aspect of the school, proper differentiation between pupils, particularly at both ends of the ability spectrum……. Read the full report

7th November 2013

Schools and the government have failed to focus effectively on religious education, Ofsted said today. 6th October 2013.

While inspectors identified examples of good practice they found that six out of ten schools examined in the report failed to realise the subject's full potential.

Part A of the report discusses eight major areas of concern:

•low standards

•weak teaching

•problems in developing a curriculum for RE

•confusion about the purpose of RE

•weak leadership and management

•weaknesses in examination provision at Key Stage 4

•gaps in training

•the impact of recent changes in education policy.

Part B of this report provides examples of effective practice in using enquiry as a basis for improving pupils' learning, high-quality leadership and management in primary and secondary schools, and effective approaches in special schools.

Read the full report here.

Read the summary report here.

A speech given by Sir Michael Wilshaw, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector, at The Lowry Hotel, Manchester on 9 September 2013.

Some quotes from Sir Michael Wilshaw's speech. Read the whole speech here.

'Most of Ofsted's inspection findings are attributable to strengths and weaknesses in leadership. Wherever we find success, good leadership is behind it.'

'Where we uncover underperformance and failure, we ask questions of leadership and governance.'

'Crucially, our figures show that 600,000 more children are now getting at least a good standard of education when compared to the beginning of the last academic year in August 2012.'

'So, I make no apology as Chief Inspector for raising the bar on school standards – no apology for replacing 'satisfactory' with 'Requires Improvement', and no apology for saying that outstanding schools should have outstanding teaching.'

'We all know that it's actually a little tougher to get an outstandingoverall judgement since last September.'

'Figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications show that 40% of all national A* grades at A-level were achieved by pupils in London and the South East.'

J'ohn Donne wrote that no man is an island. Well it is my ambition, shared by many others, that no school should be. Underperformance and isolation often form an unholy alliance, so we need more collaboration on good practice in the system.'

'I will say it again – this is the last-chance saloon for local authorities to show that they have a meaningful part to play in raising educational standards.'

'It's my belief that SEN isn't just about low achievers. The most gifted children in comprehensive schools must be thought of as needing specific support and extension activity.'

'For all the things you may have read about me, perhaps the least well-reported is that I'm an optimist about our education system. You should be too.'

Good governance

Ofsted continue to push the focus on good governance. The analysis of recommendations suggest that national priorities for improving governance should focus on:

•techniques for governors to use in knowing their school independently of the headteacher, for example, when visiting aspects of the school's work

•how to use data to get to their own independent view of achievement, including of specific groups

•how to work with the headteacher on the performance management of staff and teaching in particular

•how to plan and deliver performance management of the headteacher including setting targets

•helping governors to work with their headteachers to promote mutual accountability.

They have produced a training pack for governors to use which lasts about 90 minutes. It is quite intense and hard hitting.


78% of all schools inspected by Ofsted are judged to be good or better!

Despite lots of press about the changes under the new inspection regime this 78% figure is up by 9% from last year. There are 449 schools in special measures, which is up by 10, but the number with serious weakness fell by 70 to 128.

Source TES 13th September

Changes to Ofsted documentation.

The attached PDF file lists all the changes that Ofsted has recently made to its inspection documents.

Whilst there is little in depth information it might prove useful even if only as a reference to all the relevant documentation that Ofsted produce.

Summary of changes made for section 5 Inspections September 2013.pdf

Are your details on EduBase up to date?

Ofsted have asked that schools notify EduBase when there are any changes to details, such as a new headteacher or a change in email address. You can update your details by logging in with your EduBase unique login details. To contact the EduBase service desk, email

Ofsted guidance for school self evaluation

Ofsted have just released an updated guide for school self evaluation.

Find it in the inspections document section

Too many of England's poorest children continue to be let down by the education system

The Chief Inspector of Ofsted today put forward a series of radical and far-reaching recommendations to make a lasting difference to the prospects of thousands of 'unseen children' from low income backgrounds who are being let down by the education system.

The recommendations aimed at closing the attainment gap between England's poorest children and those from better off backgrounds were contained in a lecture delivered by Sir Michael Wilshaw in central London.

The speech at Church House in Westminster and the accompanying report, entitled Unseen children, marked 20 years since Ofsted first published a report into the achievements of the poorest children in the education system and 10 years since a follow-up study in 2003.

Alongside this report, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector Sir Michael Wilshaw made these recommendations:

Read the report in the Resources and Publication area

For Ofsted

Ofsted will be tougher in future with schools which are letting down their poor children. Schools previously judged outstanding, which are not doing well by their poorest children, will be re-inspected.

Sub-regional challenges

The development and roll-out of sub-regional challenges aimed particularly at raising the achievement of disadvantaged children.

National Leaders of Education

A more strategic approach is taken to the appointment of National Leaders of Education and their matching with schools in need of support.

A 'National Services Teacher'

The government must do more to ensure that teachers on funded schemes are directed to underperforming schools in less fashionable or more remote or challenging places. The concept of a 'National Service Teacher' should be an urgent consideration for government.

Communication, language and literacy

The Government should review assessment in Reception and Key Stage 1, with a view to publishing progress measures from the start of school to the end of Key Stage 1.

Inadequate colleges

The government should be more prepared to dismantle inadequate colleges that have grown too large to assure quality across their different activities. Smaller specialist units, particularly University Technology Colleges, should be created with stronger links to business, commerce and industry.

The Richard Review

The Richard Review should be fully implemented. This will provide a sound basis on which to reform and grow this system.

Post-16 progress and outcomes

All post-16 providers should report on the rate of progress and outcomes for all young people who had previously been eligible for free school meals.

A new approach to staff development

Have a look in the 'Case Studies' for an interesting read on how CPD is tackled at "Perry Beeches the Academy" in Birmingham. As well as the report the school has also provided a whole range of supporting documents.

Updated guidance

From Ofsetd News 31st July

The Chief Inspector wrote to headteachers in July to explain that we have revised our School inspection handbook and Subsidiary guidance to reflect these changes. Further amendments include new guidance on the inspection of careers advice and guidance, and use of the new primary school sport funding

I have attached the updated guidanceSchool inspection handbook.pdfSubsidiary guidance.pdf

Outstanding schools must close the gap between 'rich' and 'poor' students

Schools minister David Laws has said that Ofsted will penalise schools that fail to boost progress and attainment amongst their disadvantaged students even if their overall results show improvement. Data on the performance of schools' poorest students will be held as three year averages, and will be added to school league tables. This could mean a loss of a schools' Outstanding rating.

Local Authority inspections

Inspections of local authority school improvement services may take place where one or more of the following apply:

·        The amount of children attending schools rated good or better is below the national average;

·        A higher than average number of schools are in an Ofsted category of concern;

·        Attainment is below national levels;

·        Rates of progress are below national levels or the trend of improvement is weak;

·        The volume of complaints about schools in the area is a matter of concern.

The Pupil Premium ~ Implications for inspection  

From September 2012, when evaluating a school's use of the Pupil Premium, inspectors should consider:

·        whether the funding is targeted at those groups of pupils for whom it is intended

·        the decisions made by schools about how the funding is used

·        how well school leaders are monitoring and evaluating the impact of their Pupil Premium spending on narrowing the gap for pupils from disadvantaged backgrounds

·        how well governing bodies and management committees are holding school leaders to account for their spending of the premium.