Ofsted 2022 Updates and Changes

There are a number of changes made by Ofsted to their inspection handbooks which will come into effect from 1 September 2022. In this blog, we will outline the main changes and updates.

Impact of Covid-19

COVID-19 continues to have an impact on early years settings, schools, and further education providers and is likely to affect how they make decisions for some time. However, education providers are moving on from an emergency response through the pandemic and returning to more usual ways of working.

To reflect this, relevant paragraphs regarding temporary COVID-19 measures have now been incorporated into the main sections of each of the handbooks, to make it clear that inspectors will continue to take account of issues that providers may be facing. 

Transitional arrangements

When the education inspection framework (EIF) was introduced in September 2019 it was recognised that the new focus on the curriculum would mean schools and FE providers might want to change their approach – and would need time to do so. 

Transitional arrangements were therefore included within the ‘Good’ grade criteria for the quality of education judgement. These arrangements meant that any school or FE provider that was still in the process of updating its curriculum could receive a good grade, provided other aspects of the provision were good. 

The arrangements were originally planned to remain in place until September 2020 but were extended as many settings were forced to re-prioritise their curriculum plans in response to the pandemic. 

The transitional arrangements have now been removed from the updated handbooks. In their place, a new grade descriptor has been added to the quality of education judgement, acknowledging that settings are no longer facing emergency measures and are taking longer-term approaches to return pupils and learners to the curriculum they always intended. 

Graded and Ungraded inspections

The updated school inspection handbook is now referred to as ‘graded inspections’ and outstanding schools are called ‘ungraded inspections’. The purpose of each inspection type and how they are carried out remain unchanged. The name change is simply aimed at promoting a better understanding of the types of inspection Ofsted conducts and why, especially among parents. 

Enhanced inspection of colleges

The updated further education and skills handbook sets out how Ofsted will enhance its full inspections of further education colleges, sixth form colleges and designated institutions, from September 2022. This will include a new narrative sub-judgement on how well colleges are contributing to skills needs. 

Structural changes to the EY inspection handbook

In the early years inspection handbook, we have added a new part, which includes guidance on how to apply the EIF in specific contexts and provisions, such as childminders and out-of-school settings. 

There is no change to the inspection policy. However, Ofsted has taken the opportunity to consider some of the terminology they use in their handbook and have revised this to provide greater clarity for Ofsted inspectors and the sector. 

These are the key changes within the Ofsted Handbooks for implementation on 1 September 2022. In addition, there are a small number of individual points within the text of the individual handbooks including new points about Inspectors gathering, using and storing evidence from their inspections; what information from the single central record is expected and the time period for delivery prior to an inspection. These changes do not alter the nature of the inspections but add clarity to what is expected thus making the process more transparent. 


Detailed changes within key sections of the Schools Inspection Handbook:

Para 5

Ofsted may also carry out inspections under section 8 of the Education Act 2005 in order to comply with a request from the Secretary of State under section 118(2) of the Education and Inspections Act 2006 for information or advice about maintained schools and academies. We may also carry out research during inspections. 

Para 8

Inspectors will gather any personal information necessary to assist them in inspecting a school. Our privacy policy sets out what personal information we collect, what we do with it, how long we keep it and individuals’ rights under data protection legislation. 

Para 26

We expect schools to maintain, as they are required to, a single central record of the safeguarding checks they carry out. We expect MATs to record this information in a way that allows for details of each individual academy to be provided separately and without delay, even if it is held centrally. 

Para 27

We do not expect, and there is no requirement for, schools to apply retrospectively for Disclosure and Barring Service (DBS) and other pre-employment checks for staff who were appointed before DBS requirements were introduced, and have been employed continuously since then. 

Para 73

We will normally contact the school by telephone to announce a graded, ungraded or urgent inspection between 10.30am and 2pm on the school day before the inspection. 

Para 96

Information that schools must provide by 8am on the day of the inspection. 

The inspection support administrator will also send the school a letter setting out that the following information must be made available to inspectors by 8am the next day, at the formal start of the inspection: 

  • Strategic documents about the school, including: 
    • Anything that sets out school improvement planning or the longer-term vision for the school, such as the school or the trust’s strategy 
    • For maintained schools, minutes of governors’ meetings and other relevant strategic documentation about governance that the school may have 
    • For academies, minutes of trust board meetings and other relevant strategic documentation about the trust that the school may have 
    • A summary of any school self-evaluation and/or improvement plan or equivalent 
    • Any reports from any external evaluation of the school 
  • Records and information about behaviour and attendance, including: 
    • Up-to-date attendance analysis for all groups of pupils 
    • Records and analysis of pupils taken off roll 
    • Records and analysis of exclusions and suspensions, incidents of poor behaviour and any use of internal isolation 
    • Records and analysis of bullying, discriminatory and prejudiced behaviour, either directly or indirectly, including racist, sexist, disability and homophobic/biphobic/transphobic bullying, use of derogatory language and racist incidents 
    • Records and analysis of sexual harassment and/or sexual violence 
    • Records and analysis of any restrictive physical intervention 
  • Operational documents, including: 
    • Access to wifi, if it exists, so that inspectors can connect to the internet 
    • Maps and other practical information 
    • The school timetable, current staff list (indicating ECTs, mentors and induction tutors) and times for the school day, including any planned interruptions to normal school routines during the inspection 

Para 97 

 On arrival at the school, inspectors must have secure access to safeguarding information, including: 

  • The single central record for the school 
  • A list of any referrals made to the designated person for safeguarding in the school and those that were subsequently referred to the local authority, along with brief details of the resolution
  • A list of all pupils who have open cases with children’s services or social care and all pupils who have a multi-agency plan 


You can read the full list of changes and updates HERE.

Posted Date

21st July 2022

Vikkey Chaffe
Head of Community Relations

Related resources