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Inspection handbook for non-association independent schools.

Inspection handbook for non-association independent schools.


  1. This handbook describes the main activities undertaken during inspections of non-association independent schools in England under section 109(1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008 from September 2015.[1] It sets out the evaluation criteria that inspectors use to make their judgements and on which they report. This includes the extent to which the school meets the requirements of the Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014 (referred to as the independent school standards).[2]
  2. The handbook has two parts:

n  Part 1. How non-association independent schools (referred to as schools) will be inspected.
This contains information about the process before, during and after the inspection.

n  Part 2. The evaluation schedule.
This contains the evaluation criteria inspectors use to make the graded judgements about schools. It includes the kinds of evidence used and activities carried out by inspectors to make their judgements.

  1. This handbook is primarily a guide for inspectors on how to carry out school inspections. However, it is made available to schools and other organisations to ensure that they are informed about the process and procedures of inspection. It seeks to balance the need for consistency in inspections with the flexibility required to respond to the individual circumstances of each school. This handbook should not be regarded as a set of inflexible rules, but as an account of the procedures that normally govern inspection. Inspectors will exercise their professional judgement when using it. This handbook is for school inspections to be carried out from September 2015 under the new ‘Common inspection framework: education, skills and early years’(the CIF).[3]
  2. This handbookapplies to standard inspections. It does not cover the range of additional inspections that Ofsted undertakes of independent schools: emergency, progress monitoring, pre-registration and material change inspections. Guidance on these inspections is available in the ‘Handbook for additional inspections of non-association independent schools’.[4]


Read the full handbook.

[1] Education and Skills Act 2008;

[2] The Education (Independent School Standards)
Regulations 2014;

[3] ‘Common inspection framework: education, skills and early years’, Ofsted, 2015;

[4] ‘Handbook for additional inspections of independent schools’, Ofsted, 2018;


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