Public Accounts Committee

Ofsted’s inspection of schools inquiry

Inquiry status: Concluded

Report published 7 September 2018. Government response published.

Report published

Scope of the inquiry

Ofsted is responsible for inspecting approximately 21,500 schools in England. In 2017–18, it inspected 6,079 schools at a cost of £44 million to the taxpayer.

A report from the National Audit Office found that, although Ofsted’s remit has expanded significantly since 2000, its real-terms spending has been falling for over a decade from £280 million in 2005–06 to £167 million in 2015–16. Spending on its inspection of schools has more than halved in real terms over a similar period.

The National Audit Office found that Ofsted did not have evidence that its inspections were raising the standards of education provided to children and young people. Until Ofsted is able better to assess its impact, it is difficult for the National Audit Office to be satisfied that Ofsted provides value for money to the taxpayer.

The Committee will take evidence from the Department for Education and Ofsted to consider how it can better evaluate its impact, and whether it has delivered effectively despite constricting budgets.


Read all transcripts, written evidence and other material related to the inquiry on Ofsted’s inspection of schools.

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