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

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

Last reviewed on 23 January 2024
See updates
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 84 to 180 of the School Inspection Handbook (2023), 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 9.30am 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:

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