Handbook for short, monitoring and unannounced behaviour school inspections

Guidance for Ofsted inspectors carrying out school inspections under section 8 of the Education Act 2005.


School inspection handbook: section 8

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This handbook sets out the arrangements for undertaking Ofsted inspections in the following circumstances:

  • short inspections of schools judged to be good at their most recent section 5 inspection and those outstanding schools that are not exempt from section 5
  • monitoring inspections of schools judged as requires improvement
  • monitoring inspections of schools judged as having serious weaknesses
  • monitoring inspections of schools judged as requiring special measures
  • any inspection that is undertaken in other circumstances where the inspection has no specific designation, known as ‘section 8 no formal designation inspection’
  • unannounced behaviour inspections

It should be read alongside the common inspection framework.

Published 15 June 2015
Last updated 17 July 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added privacy notice information.
  2. Updated the requires improvement and special measures/serious weaknesses sections: section 5 inspections can take place up to 30 months after the last section 5 inspection for these categories. Good schools are inspected approximately every 4 years.
  3. Updated for changes to 'Requires improvement' monitoring and changes arising from the second consultation on short inspections.
  4. Update to the Short inspections of schools section reflecting the outcomes of a recent consultation; clarifications to the sections on Monitoring inspections; clarifications about engaging with those responsible for governance and inclusion of chief executives or equivalents in inspections of academies in multi-academy trusts; and updates reflecting changes to data reports (Analyse School Performance and the new inspection data summary reports or IDSR).
  5. Link to latest inspection blog post with summary of changes to handbook.
  6. Updated to reflect changes in legislation.
  7. Final document for use from September 2015 published.
  8. First published.