Ofsted's plans: 2021

Guidance and details of our plans as part of a phased return to full inspection.

This collection was withdrawn on

No longer current information.

State-funded schools

The full programme of graded school inspections resumed in autumn 2021. Some inspections under the education inspection framework restarted on 4 May.

Further education and skills

Throughout the summer term, we carried out new provider monitoring visits (NPMVs) to new further education providers that had not yet received a monitoring visit.

We continued to carry out emergency monitoring visits or full inspections of providers where serious concerns are identified, as well as inspection activity in prisons.

On 4 May we resumed monitoring visits to providers graded ‘inadequate’ and ‘requires improvement’, where appropriate.

Full education inspection framework (EIF) inspections of new providers that have had an NPMV also began in the summer term.

Early years and childcare

We resumed on-site inspections of registered early years providers under the education inspection framework on 4 May.

Children's social care

Ofsted returned to carrying out routine inspections for all settings inspected under the SCCIF (social care common inspection framework) on Monday 12 April 2021.

Non-association independent schools

All inspections of non-association independent schools will continue to take place as commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE).

The full programme of graded school inspections resumed in autumn 2021. The inspection cycle will be extended by 4 terms. This means that non-association independent schools that were due to be inspected before 31 July 2021 will now receive an inspection before 31 December 2022.

From the start of the summer term 2021, a school’s standard inspection may be brought forward if a school significantly improves or declines at an additional inspection, in line with our handbook (see paragraph 50). This was a strongly supported proposal in our public EIF consultation.

Additional inspections will continue in full.

Local authority children's services

In May, we restarted routine monitoring visits for local authorities (LAs) rated as inadequate.

Since then we have restarted:

  • regular focused visits to local authorities we have concerns about, and/or those we have not visited in some time
  • standard inspections, prioritising inadequate LAs that are likely to move out of that grade

We resumed short inspections to LAs previously judged good or outstanding in the autumn.


From April 2021, Ofsted and the Care Quality Commission (CQC) started revisiting areas where we had significant concerns about SEND provision when we last inspected them.

From June, we began carrying out inspections of local areas that have not yet been inspected under the current SEND framework. The focus of inspections remains the same: how effectively local areas identify and meet the needs of children and young people who have special educational needs and/or disabilities. However, inspectors will take into account the impact of the pandemic on the local SEND system. We will discuss with local area leaders how to carry these out safely, in line with the latest government guidance, and may carry out some activities remotely. See the updated Area SEND inspection guidance for more information.

Secure training centres

Initial teacher education (ITE)

Ofsted’s ITE inspections began on 4 May.


News and press releases

Other guidance and information

Published 7 December 2020
Last updated 31 August 2021 + show all updates
  1. Updated the 'Non-association independent schools' section to clarify that the inspection cycle will be extended by 4 terms.

  2. First published.