How Ofsted inspects safeguarding

Understand what Ofsted expects to see in your safeguarding arrangements, and what evidence inspectors will collect during an inspection. Download our list of questions Ofsted might ask about child protection, including how you handle sexual harassment and abuse in your school.

Last reviewed on 21 July 2023
See updates
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 11106
  1. Safeguarding impacts your 'leadership and management' judgement
  2. Your school should have a positive culture around safeguarding
  3. How Ofsted evaluates your safeguarding culture
  4. Inspectors will look at how you handle allegations of sexual abuse
  5. What 'ineffective' safeguarding looks like
  6. Safeguarding evidence you must give inspectors
  7. Evidence inspectors will look for
  8. Download our template of questions inspectors might ask

Safeguarding impacts your 'leadership and management' judgement

There's no separate graded judgement for safeguarding, but inspectors will judge whether safeguarding arrangements are 'effective'. 

If safeguarding is ineffective, this will likely lead to an 'inadequate' judgement for 'leadership and management'. 

However, if inspectors identify minor improvements (such as admin errors or out-of-date policies) that need to be made to strengthen the school's safeguarding practices but don't have an immediate impact on pupils' safety:

  • Inspectors will give schools the chance to rectify these issues
  • The school can still be judged effective for safeguarding, even where minor improvements can't be solved before the end of inspection

This is explained in paragraphs 394, 417 and 422 of the School Inspection Handbook.

Read more about how Ofsted inspects 'leadership and management' here.

Your school should have a positive culture around safeguarding

Protect pupils from serious harm, both online and offline Are vigilant and maintain an