We’ve had a look at the changes and provided a summary for you here:
1. Enhanced clarity on Inspectors' conduct (Paragraph 9)
The updated framework provides more detailed expectations for inspectors’ conduct. This addition ensures that inspections are carried out with the utmost professionalism, fostering a respectful and sensitive environment for all participants.
‘9. Inspectors will uphold the highest professional standards in their work. They will treat everyone they meet during inspections fairly and with the respect and sensitivity they deserve. Inspectors will work constructively with leaders and staff, demonstrating professionalism, courtesy, empathy and respect at all times.’
2. Involving leaders and governance in inspections (Paragraphs 22-24, 97, 101, 133, 157-161, 162, 359, 362) Leaders are encouraged to involve the CEO to join the inspectors team meetings:
‘22. We will invite the headteacher and the chief executive officer (CEO) of the trust (or their delegate) (where applicable) to observe the inspectors’ team meeting at the end of each day.’
3. Deferral Requests and Inspection Planning (Paragraphs 89, 91, 101)
The framework now includes clearer guidelines on how schools can request deferrals and what considerations are taken into account. Additionally, there’s greater transparency in how inspectors plan for an inspection, including what information they will request and consider.
‘89. While it is important that we carry out our planned inspections wherever possible, sometimes there may be reasons that a planned inspection may not go ahead and so a school may request a deferral of an inspection. A school may make a request during the initial notification phone call, or at the earliest opportunity afterwards, before the start of the inspection.’
4. Preparatory Calls and Educationally Focused Conversations (Paragraphs 93, 95, 96, 104-107, 103)
Updates to the procedures regarding preparatory telephone calls and the nature of conversations during inspections have been introduced. These changes aim to streamline communication between inspectors and school leaders, ensuring that discussions are focused and relevant.
‘94. The lead inspector will encourage the headteacher to have at least one other senior leader present during both calls, to assist and support them.’
5. Clarification regarding meetings with staff, pupils and parents
(Paragraphs 117-121, 131, 143, 252, 265, 266, 317, 394, 493)
The framework places a greater emphasis on engaging with staff, pupils, and parents during inspections. This approach highlights the importance of gathering a diverse range of perspectives to form a well-rounded view of the school’s performance.
‘252. A professional dialogue with leaders is vital to our understanding of the curriculum within that subject. Inspectors understand that subject leadership works differently in different schools – especially smaller schools – and will work within that context in each school.’
117 ‘During the inspection, inspectors will need to speak to staff in a range of different roles. They will do so in line with our code of conduct, and at all times act with professionalism, courtesy, empathy and respect.’
‘394. Inspectors may identify minor improvements that need to be made to the school’s safeguarding practices during inspection, such as administrative errors in paperwork or out-of-date policies. Some of these improvements may be rectified easily before the end of the inspection. Where this is the case, inspectors will have a constructive and professional conversation with leaders so that the school has every chance to make these minor improvements.’
6. Clarification on Ofsted's Pausing Policy (Paragraph 127)
A new section has been added, providing clear information on Ofsted's policy for pausing inspections. This addition helps schools understand under what circumstances an inspection might be paused and the procedures that follow.
‘127. There may be exceptional occasions when a pause to inspection needs to be considered.’
7. Focus on Safeguarding (Paragraph 161)
There’s an increased focus on safeguarding, especially in schools judged to have serious weaknesses in this area.
‘161. During this meeting, the lead inspector will ensure that the headteacher, the CEO, governors, trustees and all other attendees are clear:
- about the key findings from the inspection. The lead inspector must give sufficient detail to enable all attendees to understand how judgements have been reached and for governors/trustees to play a part in beginning to plan how to improve
- for graded inspections, about the provisional grades awarded for each key judgement and for overall effectiveness. They will also ensure that schools understand that the grades are provisional and so may be subject to change as a result of quality assurance procedures or moderation. We expect leaders to share the inspection outcome and findings with whoever they deem appropriate. They should be shared with governors/trustees, irrespective of whether they attended the meeting (and irrespective of what other role they may hold (for example, a teacher governor). Leaders may also share inspection outcomes, in confidence, with others who are not involved with the school. This may include leaders’ colleagues, family members, medical advisers and/or their wider support group. However, the information should not be made public or shared with parents
- that the main findings of the inspection and the main points provided orally in the feedback, subject to any change, will be referred to in the text of the report, although the text of the report may differ slightly from the oral feedback
- about what the school needs to improve: this will appear in the inspection report as ‘What does the school need to do to improve?’
- that, on receiving the draft report, they should ensure that the report is not published until the school receives a copy of the final inspection report
- that the headteacher is invited and encouraged to complete the post-inspection survey
- about the implications of the school being placed in a category of concern if the school is judged to be inadequate, using the wording set out in the ‘schools causing concern’ section.
- where a school is judged to have serious weaknesses solely due to safeguarding, that we will return within 3 months of the publication of the graded inspection report for an early monitoring inspection (see our monitoring handbook for more details).
- where a school requires special measures, whether it may appoint ECTs (or in the case of an academy, a recommendation on whether the academy should appoint ECTs)
- that, in addition to being able to raise concerns at any stage during the inspection, the school has an opportunity to raise any issues or concerns, or to seek clarification about the inspection at this stage, and can contact Ofsted on the working day after the end of inspection, if necessary
- about the procedure for making a complaint about the inspection’
8. Streamlining the Reporting Process (Paragraphs 169, 170, 178-180, 463)
The updates streamline the process of sharing draft inspection reports and raising concerns, both during and after the inspection. These changes aim to make the feedback process more transparent and efficient.
‘169. Inspection reports are sent to the school following moderation and quality assurance. We aim to send reports to schools as quickly as reasonably possible. In most circumstances, we will send the draft report to the school within 18 working days of the end of the inspection.’
‘178. The great majority of our work is carried out smoothly and without incident. If concerns do arise during the inspection, they should be raised with the lead inspector as soon as possible, in order to resolve issues before the inspection is completed. Any concerns raised, and actions taken, will be recorded in the inspection evidence. If there are any concerns that it is not possible to resolve with the lead inspector during the inspection, the headteacher, another senior leader, the local authority or a trust representative can contact a senior Ofsted leader using the number provided as part of the notification process (usually during the preparatory telephone call(s) with the headteacher).’
This document has been written in line with the most up to date information and was last updated January 2024.
This was written in line with the latest updated information from Ofsted, and whilst HeadteacherChat endeavours to ensure the accuracy and relevance of this document, we cannot accept liability for any errors, omissions, or outdated information. We strongly advise schools to regularly consult the latest official guidance to ensure their procedures remain up to date.