Frequency of Ofsted inspections

Find out how often Ofsted inspects schools and get an idea of when your next inspection will be (including the current timings due to the pandemic).

Last reviewed on 1 August 2023
See updates
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 7463
  1. Timings depend on your Ofsted grade and date of last inspection
  2. 'Outstanding' schools that were previously exempt
  3. Other 'outstanding' schools (special schools, PRUs, alternative provision academies and maintained nursery schools)
  4. 'Good' schools
  5. Schools which 'require improvement'
  6. 'Inadequate' schools
  7. New schools
  8. Urgent inspections outside the routine schedule
  9. The difference between graded and ungraded inspections
  10. Further articles on inspection – checklist, questions and more

Timings depend on your Ofsted grade and date of last inspection

Take a look at the section below that matches your current Ofsted grading. Be aware, though, that Ofsted can inspect your school at any time if it has concerns (see 'Urgent inspections outside the routine schedule' later in this article for more detail).

Inspections can happen any time you're in school – from 5 school days after the autumn term starts 

For example, if pupils go back to school on a Wednesday, inspections can take place from the following Wednesday onwards. This is explained in paragraph 34 of the School Inspection Handbook 2023.

The inspection window is open until the end of the school year. You won't be inspected during school holidays, but you can be inspected on the last few days of a term. An Ofsted representative told us this.

If your school's most recent graded or ungraded inspection was