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 2 September 2022
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School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 7463
  1. Ofsted will inspect all schools by end of July 2025
  2. Timings depend on your Ofsted grade and date of last inspection
  3. 'Outstanding' schools that were previously exempt
  4. Other 'outstanding' schools (special schools, PRUs, alternative provision academies and maintained nursery schools)
  5. 'Good' schools
  6. Schools which 'require improvement'
  7. 'Inadequate' schools
  8. New schools
  9. Urgent inspections outside the routine schedule
  10. The difference between graded and ungraded inspections
  11. Further articles on inspection – checklist, questions and more

Ofsted will inspect all schools by end of July 2025

To inspect all schools between May 2021 and July 2025, Ofsted will:

  • Inspect previously exempt 'outstanding' schools
  • From 2022/23, gradually get to a stage where it will inspect schools only 3 to 4 terms later than usual (so, 5 years after their last inspection). At the moment, schools are being inspected around 5 terms later due to the backlog caused by the COVID-19 pandemic
  • For subsequent inspections, return to inspecting schools around every 4 years

This is explained in paragraphs 40 and 60 of the School Inspection Handbook for September 2022.

Get the latest on the current inspection timings and when your school is likely to be inspected in the section below.

Take a look at the section below that matches your grade. Be aware, though, that Ofsted can inspect your school at any time if it has concerns (see 'Urgent inspections outside