How Ofsted inspects early years education

Learn how Ofsted inspects your EYFS provision. This judgement covers nursery, reception, provision for 2- and 3-year-olds, and wraparound care.

Last reviewed on 30 August 2022
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School types: All · School phases: Nursery, Primary
Ref: 5775
  1. Impact of COVID-19 
  2. Clear up any inspection misconceptions
  3. EYFS is included as part of regular inspections 
  4. What inspectors are looking for
  5. How inspectors will gather evidence 
  6. Grade descriptors for early years provision in school

This article summarises paragraphs 386 to 394 of the School Inspection Handbook (September 2022). For specific details about how your Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) setting will be inspected, see this handbook

Impact of COVID-19 

Inspectors will pay close attention to how your school is:

  • Identifying any delays and gaps in learning caused by the pandemic 
  • Addressing these to make sure children are well prepared for their next stage of education   

Clear up any inspection misconceptions

Ofsted won't create unnecessary workload through their recommendations.

You don't need to:

  • Follow a particular method of planning, teaching or assessment
  • Provide your EYFS curriculum planning in any specific format for inspection
  • Prepare any performance and children-tracking information for Ofsted
  • Do additional work or ask children to do work specifically for the inspection

See paragraphs 10 to 15 of the early years inspection handbook (September 2022).

A section of your inspection report will summarise the effectiveness