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 23 August 2023See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: Nursery, PrimaryRef: 5775
  1. Clear up any inspection misconceptions
  2. EYFS is included as part of regular inspections 
  3. What inspectors are looking for
  4. How inspectors will gather evidence 
  5. Grade descriptors for early years provision in school

This article summarises paragraphs 417 to 426 of the School Inspection Handbook (September 2023). For specific details about how your Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) setting will be inspected, see this handbook

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

This is covered on paragraphs 13 to 16 of the early years inspection handbook (September 2023).

EYFS is included as part of regular inspections 

A section of your inspection report will summarise the effectiveness of your early years education. Inspectors will use evidence to evaluate what it's like to be a child in your EYFS, taking into account:

How effective your

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