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Your Career• 3 Min read

17th April 2023

What is an Ofsted Rating?

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They inspect services providing education and skills for learners of all ages. They also review and regulate services that care for children and young people. They grade and rate schools upon visiting and assessing them. Under the common inspection framework for education providers, inspectors make graded judgements on the following areas:

  • effectiveness of leadership and management 
  • the quality of teaching, learning and assessment 
  • personal development, behaviour and welfare 
  • outcomes for pupils.

In each area, schools are graded on a four-point scale:

  • Grade 1 = Outstanding
  • Grade 2 = Good
  • Grade 3 = Requires Improvement
  • Grade 4 = Inadequate

Along with a grade, they also receive an overall effectiveness grade using the same scale.

Outstanding Schools

Oustanding-rated schools will be marked with grade 1 in almost every category if not every category. You cannot get any marks in grade 3 or 4 sections to get an outstanding grade. If a school receives an outstanding grade from Ofsted, it may become exempt from regular ratings and will only be revisited if there are concerns.

Good Schools

A school rated good will be marked with mostly grade 2s and a couple of 1s and 3s balancing out the final grade. Good-rated schools will receive a short one-day inspection every four years. However, if there is a dramatic fall in performance, there will be a full school inspection.

Requires Improvement Schools

Schools in this bracket will tend to get mostly grade 3s and have areas where they can get better. These schools will have a full inspection two years after their previous one.

Inadequate Schools

Schools rated inadequate get 4s in most inspection categories with the odd three, this rating means they’re failing to provide an acceptable quality of education and care for the pupils. It is required to make a significant amount of changes in order to improve, they are given three years until their following assessment to make adequate and necessary changes. If a school is state-maintained and receives an inadequate Ofsted grade, they are required to become an Academy, this is so it is easier for officials to intervene.

Certain schools are put in an ‘unofficial category’ for special measures. Schools that receive grade 4s in mostly every category including leadership and management it will require Ofsted to step in and make a direct intervention. Ofsted will give the school an action plan on how to improve and regularly monitor the school. If circumstances still continue to be out of control, then Ofsted sends its own consultants to the school.

The Ofsted Categories

Ofsted covers four categories during an inspection, these categories are:


Quality of education

The quality of education is rated on how well the school provides education to pupils at every stage and level of learning. This includes how the education is for disadvantaged students and students with learning disabilities.

Leadership and management

This assesses how well the school’s SLT (Senior Leadership Team) manages the school and how they manage situations.

Behaviour and attitudes

Ofsted will consider how well staff can create a calm, safe and orderly environment. They will see how this affects lessons and their learning and how pupils behave both in and out of lessons. The attitudes of pupils, staff, parents and governors will affect this rating.

Personal development of students

Ratings are based on how well the school can provide services like pastoral care, PSHE, extracurricular activities and other things that prepare pupils for the future.

Ofsted will usually give one day’s notice to schools unless there are serious circumstances that require them to show up unannounced. Once Ofsted has assessed the school, they will hear back in thirty days and then the report will be online within thirty-eight days

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