The Ofsted Education Inspection Framework sets out Ofsted’s inspection principles and the main judgements that inspectors make.

Ofsted consulted on a draft education inspection framework and proposed handbooks between January and April 2019. They published the new framework and handbooks in May 2019 along with a consultation outcome report.

The new inspection arrangements are to focus on curriculum, behaviour and development. Ofsted inspectors will spend less time looking at assessment data, and more time considering how a nursery, school or other education provider has achieved their results.

Read a blog from Gill Jones, Deputy Director Early Education, Ofsted written for the Foundation Years newsletter in June on the new framework here.

Latest documents

Ofsted Education Inspection Framework 2019

The education inspection framework sets out how Ofsted inspects maintained schools, academies, non-association independent schools, further education and skills provision and registered early years settings in England.

Early years inspection handbook for Ofsted registered provision

This handbook describes the main activities inspectors undertake when they conduct inspections of early years providers in England registered under sections 49 and 50 of the Childcare Act 2006.


In July 2019, Gill Jones, Deputy Director Early Education, and Wendy Ratcliff, Education Policy Team, from Ofsted joined us live for a Foundation Years webinar to talk to the early years sector and answer questions on the new Education Inspection Framework.

The session covered:

  • The consultation findings
  • The judgement areas – what’s changing?
  • Recurring themes in responses
  • What do I need to do?
  • Questions and myth busting.

Watch the webinar here

View the webinar slides here


Ofsted has produced a suite of videos to help with the implementation of the new Education Inspection Framework.

Inspecting early years providers – care before and after school

Julie-Ann Morris, Ofsted’s Senior Manager, Early Years Policy, talks about providers that only offer care before and after the school day or during school holidays.

What does cultural capital mean for early years?

Wendy Ratcliff, Her Majesty’s Inspector, Early Years Policy, explains how ‘cultural capital’ applies to early years and gives children the knowledge and skills to prepare them for future success.

What happens on an early years inspection?

In this film, Wendy Ratcliff HMI, explains why you should not do something different in your setting just because you think it is what the inspector wants to see.

What happens if someone complains about me?

In this film, Martin Williams, Principal Officer, Operations, and Penny Fisher, Early Years Senior HMI, explain what their teams do when Ofsted receive information about an early years provider.

How do I register as an early years provider?

Watch this short film, with Gill Jones, Deputy Director, Early Education and Emma Exton, Deputy Director, Operations, to find out about registering as an early years provider.

What do I need to tell you?

In this film, Dee Coleman, Principal Officer, Early Years and Julie-Ann Morris, Senior Manager, Early Years, explain what a registered early years provider needs to tell Ofsted about.