Ofsted misses short inspections target for second year running

Ofsted has missed its target for the number of short inspections it carries out for the second year running – although the watchdog seems to be catching up on a backlog of planned school visits.

The watchdog’s annual report and accounts, published this morning, shows that the number of Ofsted inspections carried out this year was 39,700, down on the 44,700 last year.

While Ofsted said it is on track to meet its target for “constrained” inspections this year, the document states it has missed the short inspections quota for the second year.

As the watchdog did not meet the short inspection target last year, an “aspirational target” was set for 2016-17 to “deal with this shortfall”.

However the annual report states: “We delivered a higher volume of these inspections than last year, though still short of target.”

The report stated that the challenge to deliver short inspections was because of “the challenges on recruiting and sourcing high calibre inspectors”.

But the watchdog says it has trained more experienced Ofsted inspectors to lead the inspections, improving its ability to deliver them.

Schools Week reported in November that Ofsted was also offering cash incentives to lure less experienced inspectors into leading more school visits.

The intervention followed reports last year that schools were waiting months for inspections, after Ofsted axed nearly half its additional inspector workforce, employed as contractors, to being them in-house.

But the annual report shows it is catching up on the inspection backlog. A total of 83 per cent of planned inspections in maintained schools or academies were completed this year.

It’s a vast improvement on 2015-16, when only 67 per cent were completed. However independent school visits fell from 73 per cent in 2015-16, to 71 per cent last year.

It also appears Ofsted has learnt how to provide inspections even cheaper. The watchdog has lost £54 million in funding since 2010-11, but carried out only five per cent fewer inspections this year than in 2011.

Schools Week reported in June last year the watchdog has saved more than £3 million by delaying inspections, amid concerns about the lack of available inspectors.



Latest education roles from

Electrical Installation Trainer

Electrical Installation Trainer

Barnsley College

Sessional Science Lab Technician

Sessional Science Lab Technician

Merton College

Sessional Lecturer – Plumbing

Sessional Lecturer – Plumbing

South Thames College

EA to the CEO & Senior Directors

EA to the CEO & Senior Directors

Haberdashers’ Academies Trust South

Chief Executive Officer Cornwall Education Learning Trust (CELT)

Chief Executive Officer Cornwall Education Learning Trust (CELT)

Satis Education

Head of Faculty (History and RS)

Head of Faculty (History and RS)

Ark Greenwich Free School

Your thoughts

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


  1. Chalkface

    It would appear that the 3 yearly short inspection regime for “good” schools – brought in by Wilshaw – is not deliverable. This reinforces my view that strong “good” schools – as shown by all available data – should be exempt in the same way that so called “outstanding” schools are. Just do a desk top analysis and decide which “good” schools need inspecting. Many “strong “good” schools outperform so called outstanding schools even in the same circumstances.

    Ofsted’s resources should be used on those schools that clearly need it.

    • And how long should schools be exempt from inspection? Some ‘outstanding’ schools haven’t been inspected for nearly ten years. There must come a time when such inspections are past their use-by date. Their results might be high on paper but raw results are misleading and can hide poor-quality education such as teaching to the test, gaming and a restricted curriculum.

      • Chalkface

        Ten years is probably too long for any school. My point is strongly “good” don’t need a 3 yearly check up. Hard to defend the cost when schools’ budgets are being squeezed.