Additional inspections of independent schools: handbook for inspectors

This document provides guidance to help Ofsted inspectors in carrying out additional inspections of independent schools.

Applies to England



This handbook sets out the main activities for conducting inspections of independent schools that are commissioned by the Department for Education outside of the normal inspection cycle. These inspections are known as ‘additional inspections’: pre-registration inspections of proposed schools under section 99 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, and material change, progress monitoring and emergency inspections under section 109(1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008.

This handbook also covers welfare-only additional inspections of independent schools, conducted under the Children Act 1989.

It sets out the purpose of each type of additional inspection and explains the judgements that inspectors will make and on which they report.

This handbook also sets out how inspectors evaluate schools’ action plans to rectify regulatory failures.

Published 1 October 2014
Last updated 11 August 2023 + show all updates
  1. See 'Summary of changes'.

  2. See 'Summary of changes'.

  3. See 'Summary of changes' for details.

  4. Removed old guidance as the September 2021 handbook is now in force.

  5. See 'Summary of changes' document.

  6. Edits throughout: see 'Summary of changes' for details.

  7. Removed guidance about the interim phase.

  8. Updated for use from September 2020 to reflect Ofsted's interim assurance phase and changes to post-inspection practice.

  9. Minor updates to reflect the education inspection framework and independent schools handbook.

  10. Updated handbook: added privacy notice information; updates to ‘Clarification for schools’ section, on evidence for inspection, performance management, safeguarding and the curriculum; clarification from the Department for Education on which checks should be made on non-proprietorial governors, and on prohibition orders and prohibition from management of independent schools orders.

  11. Updated for use from September 2016.

  12. Updated for use from September 2015.

  13. Termly update to independent school inspection guidance

  14. First published.