School inspection: a view from the board, two years on

This study seeks to understand whether:

  • schools are inspected in a consistent way under the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework
  • governance is understood and inspected correctly
  • the reporting of governance is consistent and achieves the intention of the reports that are published

Download the report (PDF)

The study is based on an online, self-selecting survey gathered the views of 111 chairs, vice chairs, lead executives and governors and trustees from multi academy trusts (MATs), single academy trusts (SATs) and maintained schools. It is also informed by an analysis of 120 representative Ofsted reports, published between September 2021 and December 2021.

Ofsted research report front coverThe findings of the study highlight where Ofsted inspection practice has since changed or improved, following our 2020 report which identified key issues and areas to address.

Key findings

  • Only 36% of governing boards said that the Ofsted inspection helped governance.
  • Inspectors appear to understand the strategic role of school governance; however this is not consistently the case for every inspection.
  • Inspectors are able to distinguish between the roles and responsibilities at multi academy trust board level and local governance level.
  • There is an inconsistency between the questions inspectors ask governing boards about the curriculum and the depth the questioning goes to.
  • The feedback meeting was considered valuable to school improvement.
  • 31% of analysed reports do not mention governance.
  • Where schools are graded below ‘good’, often the published reports do not refer to governance at all.
  • 38% of respondents felt that inspectors were not mindful of the impact of COVID-19.
  • Almost a fifth of respondents (19%) stated that their published Ofsted report was not an accurate reflection of what was heard in the feedback meeting.

Ahead of its publication, NGA wrote to Amanda Spielman, Her Majesty's Chief Inspector to raise concerns over the declining visibility of governance and called for changes to Ofsted inspection reports. Read the letter. 

Further reading and resources


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