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What is Ofsted?

Ofsted is an abbreviation of the Office for Standards in Education. It’s an independent, non-ministerial government department which reports directly to Parliament and its job is to inspect and rate schools.

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Woman dressed as inspector holding a magnifying glassOfsted employs over 1,500 inspectors to evaluate the educational performance of schools, as well as further education and skills centres.

Ofsted reports also evaluate childcare, adoption and fostering agencies, as well as early years and children's social care services, ensuring their suitability for children and vulnerable young people.

Established in 1992, Ofsted replaced inspectors employed by local education authorities due to inconsistent standards nationwide.

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Understanding Ofsted Ratings for Schools

Ofsted inspectors provide an overall rating, outlining the steps educational centres must take to improve standards before the next inspection. The five ratings are:

  1. Outstanding: Highly effective in delivering outcomes, providing exceptionally well for all pupils' needs.
  2. Good: Effective in delivering outcomes, providing well for all pupils' needs.
  3. Requires Improvement: Not yet good, but not inadequate. Full inspection within two years.
  4. Inadequate: Serious weaknesses, requires significant improvement. Regular monitoring.
  5. Special Measures: Failing to provide an acceptable standard of education. Regular monitoring.

Ofsted, an independent, non-ministerial government department, reports directly to Parliament, inspecting and rating schools.

Why Parents Should Check School Ratings

An Ofsted report offers a snapshot of a school or childcare establishment. It aids parents in choosing a school, providing insights into achievement, teaching quality, behaviour, safety, and leadership.

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Reports include information on attendance, indicating popularity, and class sizes. Details on the school's socio-economic mix, free school meals, and English as a second language are also crucial for parents.

What to Look For in an Ofsted Inspection Report

Pupils in primary school class raising their hands

Look beyond the school's rating; positive aspects and areas needing improvement may be highlighted. Consider the report's date, as circumstances and leadership may have changed.

Is the Ofsted Report the Best Way to Choose a School?

While the Ofsted report is vital, experts suggest visiting schools during term time, observing pupil engagement and happiness. Volunteer, talk to teachers, and note extracurricular activities to gauge suitability for your child.

Explore the website for further insights into what happens after the school bell rings.

Now understanding Ofsted, explore our Knowledge Bank for articles on all schooling aspects, answering parents' questions. Find advice on parenting for a happy, confident, and safe child.

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