Social care common inspection framework (SCCIF): boarding schools and residential special schools

6. Legal context

Boarding and residential special schools inspections and the law

Under the Education and Inspections Act 2006, Ofsted carries out its work in ways that encourage the services it inspects to:

  • improve
  • be user-focused
  • be efficient and effective in the use of resources

Section 87 of the Children Act 1989 and the National Care Standards Commission (inspection of schools and colleges) regulations 2002 set out the legal basis for the inspection of boarding and residential provision in schools. This applies to:

  • maintained and non-maintained schools
  • academies
  • free schools
  • pupil referral units

It does not apply to schools that are registered as children’s homes.

When inspecting boarding and residential special schools, Ofsted takes into consideration the knowledge and understanding gained from previous inspections, and to relevant legislation including:

Ofsted inspects boarding and residential provision in schools, but does not regulate it. This means that, unlike some other types of social care or welfare provision, Ofsted does not inspect boarding and residential provision in schools against a set of regulations or raise actions where such regulations are not met.

The SCCIF does not apply to the boarding and residential provision of independent schools that is inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate.