Ofsted 'deep dives': reading (primary)

Find out what Ofsted inspectors might ask during a reading 'deep dive'. Download our list of questions – it's based on inspections under the 2019 framework.

Last reviewed on 8 March 2022
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 38740
  1. How 'deep dives' work
  2. Impact of COVID-19
  3. Questions Ofsted might ask during a reading 'deep dive'
  4. Further reading

Ofsted inspectors use subject 'deep dives' to inspect your curriculum

In a primary school, you'll always have a reading 'deep dive' as part of your inspection.

How 'deep dives' work

Who's involved?

Your senior leadership team, curriculum leads, subject leads, teachers and pupils.

How will inspectors do this?

In primary schools, inspectors will usually look at between 3 and 5 subjects, depending on the size of your school and the inspection team. They'll gather evidence through:

  • Conversations (see the list of questions towards the end of this article)
  • Work scrutinies (reviewing at least 6 workbooks or pieces of work per lesson, observed from at least 2 year groups)
  • Lesson observations (typically 4 to 6 lessons)
  • Curriculum documentation (you don't need to prepare this in any specific format – see paragraph 75 of the School Inspection Handbook)

Read our article on how Ofsted inspects your curriculum and this Ofsted guidance for more details.

Ofsted recognises the challenges placed on