You are here:

Last reviewed on 9 August 2021
Ref: 12955
School types: All · School phases: All

Be ready for your next section 8 inspection when Ofsted restarts routine inspections in autumn 2021. Here's what happens before, during and after, and what Ofsted will be looking for.

Extended timings for the first inspection following COVID-19

Due to a backlog of inspections caused by coronavirus, Ofsted has extended its inspection intervals for the first inspection after the pandemic.

Normally, you'd receive an inspection under section 8 approximately every 4 years - but this period will be extended by up to 6 terms for the first inspection after the pandemic.

For subsequent inspections, if your school continues to be 'good' or 'outstanding', you'll receive a section 8 inspection approximately 4 years later.

Read more about Ofsted changes for September.

How formerly exempt 'outstanding' schools are inspected

Following the removal of the 'outstanding' exemption, Ofsted will begin carrying out inspections of 'outstanding' schools when routine inspections restart in autumn 2021.

Your school will now receive a section 8 inspection before 1 August 2026 if:

(If your school was last inspected

More from The Key


Bitesize training with a big impact

Our on-demand training has your whole board covered and lets them learn at a time and pace that suits them.

Help your new governors hit the ground running with our expertly-designed induction training, and our role-specific courses support your link governors develop key skills and confidence in their role.


New eLearning: DSL refresher training

Your DSL’s training should be refreshed at least once every 2 years. 

Designed in collaboration with safeguarding experts, our 2.5 hour online refresher training course reminds DSLs how to put their knowledge into practice, with in-depth, real-world scenarios.


The Key has taken great care in publishing this article. However, some of the article's content and information may come from or link to third party sources whose quality, relevance, accuracy, completeness, currency and reliability we do not guarantee. Accordingly, we will not be held liable for any use of or reliance placed on this article's content or the links or downloads it provides. This article may contain information sourced from public sector bodies and licensed under the Open Government Licence v3.0.