School inspection handbook

Ofsted guidance on inspecting maintained schools and academies in England under the education inspection framework.

Applies to England



This handbook is primarily a guide for Ofsted inspectors on how to carry out inspections of maintained schools and academies under section 5 of the Education Act 2005.

We also publish this for schools and other interested parties so that they are aware of Ofsted’s inspection processes and procedures under the education inspection framework (EIF).

We have also published guidance for section 8 school inspections, along with Inspecting schools: guide for maintained and academy schools.

Published 14 May 2019
Last updated 1 September 2021 + show all updates
  1. Removed old guidance: the September 2021 handbook is now in force.

  2. See 'Summary of changes' document.

  3. See 'Summary of changes' document.

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

  5. Updated with minor changes following the launch of the education inspection framework (EIF).

  6. Updated with minor changes as we launch the education inspection framework (EIF).

  7. First published.