British schools overseas inspection scheme

What British schools overseas need to know about the voluntary inspection scheme and available support.

We have put in place a voluntary inspection scheme for overseas schools. This ensures schools provide their pupils with the skills and qualifications they need to enter or re-enter the British education system. The scheme helps to inform parents of how the standards in these schools measure up against the standards that apply to independent schools in England.


British schools overseas: standards for schools’ lists the standards that all accredited British schools overseas must meet. Approved inspectorates will use these standards when they inspect your school.

To become accredited you must have an inspection every 3 years which shows that your performance against all the standards is at least satisfactory.

Approved inspectorates

Inspectorates are approved by us and monitored by Ofsted to inspect British schools overseas and produce inspection reports.

Ofsted reports annually on the quality of the approved organisation’s inspections: ‘British schools overseas annual reports’.

In September 2017 we re-approved the following organisations to inspect and report on British schools overseas:

Schools in Dubai should request an inspection through the Knowledge and Human Development Authority (KHDA) of the Government of Dubai, who work in partnership with the Education Development Trust.

Inspection fees

We have no role in fee-setting for overseas inspections. Schools must arrange their own inspections by contacting an approved inspectorate.

Inspection reports

Inspectorates are required to publish the results of all inspections on their website for the past 3 years. We have also published the BSO inspection reports on GOV.UK.

If you meet the standards you will be allocated a unique reference number on the national school reference system, Edubase.


The following organisations provide help and support to British schools overseas in arranging and preparing for inspections:

You can find advice on offering induction to your newly qualified teachers in the ‘Induction for newly qualified teachers’ statutory guidance.

Published 25 March 2014
Last updated 10 October 2017 + show all updates
  1. Updated list of approved inspectorates.
  2. Added a link to the Association of British Schools Overseas.
  3. Updated list of approved inspectorates.
  4. Added link to list of accredited British schools overseas inspection reports.
  5. Updated the link to Cambridge Education so it points to the UK site.
  6. First published.