A Guidance Note for headteachers and senior leaders.


A summary follows:

The purpose of this note is to help school leaders to ensure, as far as possible, that the Ofsted visit is a calm process with the best possible outcome. 

The note makes significant reference to delegation: we believe firmly that headteachers should not carry out all tasks themselves. But we do understand that reference to delegation to senior leaders, business managers and others may not apply to the smallest schools. Even here, heads should think about what other teachers, the school secretary and governors may share. 

Of course, a great deal of what you do all day, every day is about building and sustaining quality in your school: we are dealing here specifically with Ofsted inspection.  

1. General readiness 

1.1. We agree with the precept not to do things especially for Ofsted – trying to second-guess what inspectors want or will think is invariably misguided. The guidance simply acknowledges that notice of an inspection is short and you will have only half a day for specific preparation. The points are not burdensome and fit within the parameters of good practice, under the heading “get it clear and get it done” – these are not things to do in the immediate run-up to an inspection, but matters to keep under regular review.


2. When the inspection is announced 

2.1. If there are serious problems in the school that you believe justify a deferral, check the regulations in Deferring Ofsted inspections: . Be aware that deferrals are rare.  


3. During the Inspection 

3.1. Try to make the inspection as collaborative and as easy as possible for the inspectors; provide them with a suitable room and good quality refreshments. Ensure they are correctly DBS checked.  


4. After the Inspection 

4.1. Acknowledge and thank everyone. However the rules about whom you may inform may change, you cannot publicise the outcome.   


At the document’s conclusion, further support offers from DS are confirmed, including the example Duty of Care Risk Assessment for Leaders.


We support this initiative by encouraging you to subscribe to Ofsted News, if you don’t already do so:

That will give you access to output such as the recent statistical commentary on ‘The alignment between inspection grades and headline data measures’:

We will also attach the, ‘hot off the press’ blog document from Ofsted, titled:


How we inspect safeguarding in schools


Posted on: 9 November 2023.


In the document there is mention about being clear on what is meant by a ‘culture of safeguarding’. There is a reference to the School Inspection Handbook, updated for September 2023, on their view of Safeguarding considerations. Mention is made of particular areas of reference. We will also attach that content for your easy reference.


Some research has been carried out by Judicium where Safeguarding led to unwanted inspection outcomes. That document will also be attached for your reference.


And finally, we would attach our DS Top Tips for SBMs associated with the visit by Ofsted.

We sincerely hope you find our initiative helpful and look forward to hearing from you with your enquiries for the special price introductory offers for:

MANAGING THE OFSTED VISIT, A Guidance Note for headteachers and senior leaders and the supporting documents mentioned above

The Duty of Care Risk Assessment, and any of the other support initiatives on offer.