Ofsted 'deep dive' questions

Download our list of 'deep dive' questions, based on previous inspections, for subject leaders and teachers to see what Ofsted inspectors might ask in a subject 'deep dive'.

Last reviewed on 5 July 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 46807
  1. Which subjects get a 'deep dive'?
  2. How deep dives work
  3. Download our list of possible questions
  4. Get clued-up on subject-specific deep dives
  5. Differences between primary and secondary deep dives
  6. How to prepare

Ofsted inspectors use subject 'deep dives' to inspect your curriculum. They use them to consider the 'intent, implementation and impact' of your curriculum as part of the 'quality of education' assessment.

See paragraphs 215 to 217 of the School Inspection Handbook for more detail.

Ofsted has emphasised that it doesn't make judgements on specific subjects, lessons or teachers. Instead, inspectors use deep dives to help them arrive at an overall 'quality of education' judgement.

Which subjects get a 'deep dive'?

In primary schools Ofsted will:

  • Always do a deep dive in:
    • Reading
    • 1 or more foundation subjects
  • Often do a deep dive in maths

In secondary schools, Ofsted will usually focus on a sample of 4 to 6 subjects.

See paragraph 216 of the School Inspection Handbook for more details.

How deep dives work

Who's involved?

Subject leads in primary schools don’t need to be subject specialists, and Ofsted won’t expect