Last reviewed 3 May 2022

Arguing that its work is more important than ever following the disruption and distress of the past two years, Ofsted has set out a strategy to continue its work to improve the lives of children and young people from 2022 to 2027.

Available at GOV.UK, this builds on its previous five-year plan, which helped it to identify the things it could do to best improve outcomes for children and learners.

The new strategy includes a stronger focus on the inspectorate’s work in the early years and ensuring children get the best start in life.

It highlights that its recent reports on education recovery have highlighted the serious impact the pandemic has had on some of the youngest children. Many have gaps in their communication and language skills and are behind where they should be in their personal, social, emotional and physical development.

The early years workforce has also been hit hard Ofsted notes. Thousands have left the sector since the first lockdown in 2020, while those who have stayed are often struggling to get by on low wages.

There has also been a drop in the number of childcare providers. At the start of the pandemic there were just over 75,000 registered providers, but that has since dipped below 70,000, with childminders accounting for the bulk of the reduction.

To play its part in the recovery, the new strategy commits Ofsted to helping make sure every child’s earliest experience of education is as good as it can be.

The next five years

The strategy includes commitments to:

  • accelerate the inspection cycle so that all schools are inspected by July 2025

  • allow more time for professional dialogue and evidence-gathering by increasing the proportion of longer inspections in education

  • assess all further education colleges on how well they are meeting the skills needs of the economy within the next four years

  • enhance inspections of independent schools so swift intervention can happen where standards are poor

  • review social care inspections following the recommendations of the independent care review

  • develop and implement a new area SEND inspection framework that holds the right agencies to account for their role in the system

  • work with the Department for Education (DfE) to increase powers to act when children are educated or cared for in unregistered settings

  • improve the diversity of Ofsted staff across grades and roles.