This document provides guidance to help Ofsted inspectors in carrying out additional inspections of independent schools.


Handbook for additional inspections of independent schools

PDF, 831KB, 88 pages


Read guidance on how inspectors will carry out inspections of independent schools from January 2021.

You can also read interim guidance on our work from September to December 2020.

This handbook sets out the main activities for conducting inspections of independent schools that are commissioned by the Department for Education outside of the normal inspection cycle. These inspections are known as ‘additional inspections’: pre-registration inspections of proposed schools under section 99 of the Education and Skills Act 2008, and material change, progress monitoring and emergency inspections under section 109(1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008.

This handbook also covers welfare-only additional inspections of independent schools, conducted under the Children Act 1989.

It sets out the purpose of each type of additional inspection and explains the judgements that inspectors will make and on which they report.

This handbook also sets out how inspectors evaluate schools’ action plans to rectify regulatory failures.

Published 1 October 2014
Last updated 7 December 2020 + show all updates

  1. Removed guidance about the interim phase.

  2. Updated for use from September 2020 to reflect Ofsted’s interim assurance phase and changes to post-inspection practice.

  3. Minor updates to reflect the education inspection framework and independent schools handbook.

  4. Updated handbook: added privacy notice information; updates to ‘Clarification for schools’ section, on evidence for inspection, performance management, safeguarding and the curriculum; 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.

  5. Updated for use from September 2016.

  6. Updated for use from September 2015.

  7. Termly update to independent school inspection guidance

  8. First published.