Inspection provides an independent, external evaluation of the quality of provision and standards achieved in a school, and a diagnosis of what it should do to improve, based upon a range of evidence. It ensures a measure of accountability and promotes the improvement of individual schools and the education system as a whole.

Inspection reports present a written commentary on the outcomes achieved and the quality of provision (especially the quality of teaching and its impact on learning), the effectiveness of leadership and management and the school’s capacity for sustained improvement. They are also useful to parents in informing their choice about the school they wish their child to attend.

The primary purpose of inspection is to bring about improvement in education provision and this has been Ofsted’s mission since it was created. In 2017, Ofsted revised its strategic 5-year strategy. The mantra of Raising Standards and Improving Lives was reaffirmed but with a shift in emphasis towards wider personal development and ‘cultural capital’ for individuals and society.

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