Your step-by-step guide to a graded Ofsted inspection

Find out what happens before, during and after a graded Ofsted inspection under the 2019 framework, and understand what's expected of you at each step.

Last reviewed on 15 September 2022
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School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 3417
  1. Before the inspection
  2. During the inspection
  3. After the inspection

This article is based on paragraphs 73 to 155 of the School Inspection Handbook, and is about graded inspections (previously known as section 5 inspections). If you're due an ungraded inspection (previously known as section 8 inspections), see our other article.

Before the inspection


Ofsted will contact you by phone to announce the inspection, between 10.30am and 2pm on the school day before the inspection. They'll ask to speak to the most senior member of staff available.

During this call, Ofsted will check:

  • The number of pupils you have on roll
  • The governance arrangements you have
  • Whether you have any special educational needs and/or disabilities (SEND) provision, nursery provision for 2 and 3 year-olds, or additional resource provision

Following this call, you'll get a confirmation via email and a letter setting out key information for you to look at.

After you've been notified, the lead inspector will call and ask to speak to the