LSIP Ofsted Updates- Autumn 2023

Published: 31 August 2023
The Learn Sheffield Improvement Partner team thought it would be useful to share a summary of recent Ofsted updates, including an update on Caversham School, safeguarding, the current Ofsted strategy and some information on the timing of inspections.

The Learn Sheffield Improvement Partner team thought it would be useful to share a summary of recent Ofsted updates, including an update on Caversham School, safeguarding, the current Ofsted strategy and some information on the timing of inspections.

Caversham School

It is worth reminding ourselves of HMCI’s, Amanda Spielman’s, public statement in relation to Caversham School and the resulting debates about Ofsted and the future of inspection.

The team would like to draw your attention to what Amanda said in her statement about the pressures that leaders face:

‘We know that inspections can be challenging, and we always aim to carry them out with sensitivity as well as professionalism. Our school inspectors are all former or serving school leaders. They understand the vital work headteachers do, and the pressures they are under. Our aim has always been to raise standards for all children and to make sure they get a great education – it’s an aim we share with teachers and school leaders - which is why we do not believe it is in the best interests of children to pause inspection.’

In relation to questions around reform to inspection, Amanda has described this ongoing debate as legitimate. Inspections give parents a simple and accessible summary of a school’s strengths and weaknesses and they are also now used to guide government decisions about when to intervene in struggling schools. It is Ofsted’s view that any changes that might be made to this system need to meet both these criteria.

They encourage you to read Amanda’s statement in full if you have not already done so. The statement is available at:


Amanda Spielman, in response to the tragic news about Ruth Perry, has commented that:

We are making changes. One of the most critical areas we look at on inspection is safeguarding. Keeping children safe is so important that a school can be graded inadequate if safeguarding is poor – even if everything else in a school is done well. The Secretary of State said this week that safeguarding is vital. We won’t be soft on safeguarding, but it’s an area which isn’t always well-understood. It’s sometimes mis-characterised as an exercise in paperwork, but as everyone who works in schools knows, it’s much more than that. We need to see that schools understand and manage the risks of children coming to harm. We need to know that prompt action is taken when it happens.

However, we do recognise that some gaps in schools’ knowledge or practice are easier to put right than others. We are looking at how we can return more quickly to schools who have work to do on safeguarding but are otherwise performing well. That should enable us to see fast improvements and reflect them in our judgements.

It’s also important that when school leaders disagree with our judgements there is a robust system of review. We are currently piloting changes to our complaints process which I hope will make it more responsive – so that issues can be addressed during the inspection rather than considered afterwards, which creates delay and frustration. I also want to ensure that when a complaint is made about our work, people feel that they have had a fair and thorough hearing.’

Inspectors will now return more quickly to schools graded inadequate overall due to ineffective safeguarding, but where all other judgements were good or better. Ofsted will return within 3 months of an inspection report being published, and parents will be informed of this intention in the report. If the school has been able to resolve the safeguarding concerns, it is likely to see its overall grade improve.

From September, Ofsted will offer schools greater clarity about the threshold for effective versus ineffective safeguarding through the inspection handbook, as well as regular blogs and webinars. Ofsted  will also describe ineffective safeguarding more clearly in inspection reports, to help reassure parents and others that these judgements are not made lightly.

Ofsted strategy 2022-27

The education inspection framework (EIF) is fundamental to the work of Ofsted. Ofsted have committed to evaluating the EIF in our Ofsted strategy 2022-27, following the return to inspection post Covid. 

Timing of inspections

In a blog post published in June 2023, Ofsted introduced some changes to when schools are likely to be inspected.

Ofsted state that:

The period between inspections is normally simple. However, there are currently several complicating factors. The below clarifies when schools can expect their next inspection.


  • A school judged outstanding or good will usually be inspected within the 4 academic years following its last inspection.
  • A school judged requires improvement or inadequate will usually be inspected within two and a half years.

However, the picture is currently a bit more complicated, for several reasons, including:

  • the pause to inspections during the pandemic meant that we have extended the period for many schools
  • the government lifted the inspection exemption for outstanding schools; this added 3,000 schools to our schedule, many of which have not been inspected for a decade or more
  • the government has also asked us to inspect every school at least once before August 2025

This means that the gaps between inspections may be different for your school.

The tables below will give you an indication of when your next inspection is likely to be.

Things to note

As has always been the case, the indications we give are only rough guides. We may inspect sooner if we need to (for example if we have concerns about a school). We also do not confirm exactly when a school will be inspected before we notify it officially.


The suggested timings under current inspection grades also do not apply to all schools. If your school falls into any of the following categories, please scroll down to find timings specific to you:

All other schools

If you do not fall into any of these categories, then the timing of your next inspection will be dependent on the date and grade you received at the last graded or ungraded inspection. Scroll down or click on a link below:

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