Non-association independent school inspection handbook

Guidance for inspecting non-association independent schools under the common inspection framework.


Non-association independent school inspection handbook

This file may not be suitable for users of assistive technology. Request an accessible format.

If you use assistive technology (such as a screen reader) and need a version of this document in a more accessible format, please email Please tell us what format you need. It will help us if you say what assistive technology you use.


This handbook describes the main activities Ofsted inspectors undertake during inspections of non-association independent schools. It sets out the evaluation criteria that inspectors use to make their judgements and on which they report.

It is to be used in inspections carried out under the ‘Common inspection framework: education, skills and early years’.

Published 15 June 2015
Last updated 3 August 2018 + show all updates
  1. Added privacy notice information; updates to ‘Clarification for schools’ section, on evidence for inspection, performance management, safeguarding and the curriculum and added 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.
  2. Updated for layout change: the 'Clarification for schools’ section has moved and is now paragraph 23.
  3. Updated for use from September 2016.
  4. Information about inspecting against the independent school standards and other requirements added in Annex B.
  5. Final document for use from September 2015 published.
  6. First published.