Working in Further Education

Preparing for an Ofsted monitoring visit: Tips and best practices

February 10, 2023

Table of Contents

Preparing for an Ofsted monitoring visit can be stressful, but with the right knowledge and organisation, it can be a rewarding experience. In this guide, we will provide a comprehensive overview of the process from start to finish so that you can ensure that you are fully prepared for your Ofsted monitoring visit.

What should a college expect during an Ofsted monitoring visit?

An Ofsted monitoring visit is a crucial evaluation of a school’s performance by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) in England. It is an opportunity for the school to showcase its achievements and demonstrate how it has addressed any previously identified weaknesses.

The purpose of a monitoring visit is to evaluate the progress the college has made since its last inspection, identify areas of good practice, and identify any areas that require improvement. The visit is a shorter, less intensive version of a full inspection. It is usually carried out when Ofsted is concerned about a college's performance or when it is due for a full inspection in the near future.

During the visit, the inspection team will observe lessons, speak with staff, pupils and governors and look at various documentation and evidence. They will also focus on areas of the college that they have identified as being of concern. They will then provide feedback to the college on their findings and make recommendations for improvement.

Preparation is essential in ensuring a successful outcome. Involving key stakeholders, reviewing policies and procedures, identifying areas for improvement, and gathering evidence of progress are all important steps in the preparation process.

How can self-evaluation help a college prepare for an Ofsted monitoring visit?

To prepare for an Ofsted monitoring visit, colleges should self-evaluate their performance in governance, leadership, teaching and learning, curriculum, and outcomes. They should also gather relevant evidence to support their self-evaluation and be prepared to share this evidence with the inspection team.

Self-evaluation is essential to any college's ongoing improvement process and is essential in preparation for an Ofsted monitoring visit. Self-evaluation allows colleges to identify their strengths and areas for improvement and take a critical and honest look at their performance.

By conducting a thorough self-evaluation, colleges can ensure that they are presenting an accurate and positive picture of their performance to the inspection team. Additionally, self-evaluation helps colleges to identify areas that need improvement so that they can set specific and measurable goals for improvement and develop an action plan to achieve them. Furthermore, self-evaluation helps colleges be more proactive and take control of their own development rather than waiting for external feedback.

Overall, self-evaluation is a powerful tool colleges can use to improve their performance and ensure they meet the required standards.

What are the key roles of teachers and staff during an Ofsted monitoring visit?

Teachers and staff play a key role during an Ofsted monitoring visit. This includes:

  1. Preparing thoroughly by familiarising themselves with Ofsted inspection criteria and ensuring that their classrooms and materials are ready.
  2. Collaborating to present a united and supportive front to the inspectors.
  3. Demonstrating good practice by aiming to present their best teaching practices and show how they positively impact students’ learning.
  4. Engaging with inspectors: being open and friendly, answering questions and providing evidence to support their work.
  5. Keeping accurate records of their work and being able to show these to inspectors if asked.
  6. Following procedures: Teachers and staff should follow all relevant school policies and procedures during the visit.

During the visit, teachers will be observed teaching lessons, and the inspection team will interview staff. It is essential for teachers and staff to be aware of the areas of focus for a visit and to be prepared to discuss their teaching practices, curriculum and student progress.

How can colleges use feedback from an Ofsted visit to improve?

Colleges can take advantage of the feedback from an Ofsted visit to improve their quality of their education. The first step is to review the report to identify areas for improvement. Based on this information, colleges should prioritise actions that will impact student outcomes. Colleges should engage staff in the process and involve them in decision-making.

Using feedback, colleges should aim to improve teaching practices and materials and regularly monitor progress using data and other forms of evidence. Colleges can seek external support from organisations like the Education and Training Foundation or local authority to address specific areas for improvement.

Ultimately, the goal should be to view the Ofsted visit as an opportunity for continuous improvement, using feedback to inform ongoing development and enhancement of the college.

What should a college do if they disagree with the findings from Ofsted?

If a college disagrees with the findings of an Ofsted inspection, they have a few options.

  • Request Clarification: The college can reach out to Ofsted to clarify specific points in the report.
  • Provide Additional Evidence: The college can provide additional evidence to support their position, such as data or documentation not available during the inspection.
  • Appeal the Decision: The college can appeal if they believe the inspection was flawed or the report contains inaccuracies.
  • Attend a Hearing: If an appeal is made, the college may need to attend a hearing to present their case.
  • Follow up with Action: Regardless of the outcome of the appeal, the college should address valid concerns raised in the report.

It’s important to note that the appeal process can be time-consuming and costly, so colleges should carefully consider their options before proceeding. The goal should be to work with Ofsted to improve education for students.


In conclusion, an Ofsted monitoring visit is an important part of the college improvement process. It provides valuable feedback to colleges on their performance and helps them identify improvement areas. Preparing thoroughly, engaging with the inspection team and using feedback to improve are key takeaways from the process.

Schools and colleges should strive to improve their performance. The future of Ofsted monitoring visits may see changes and updates to the process. Still, the importance of ongoing college improvement and compliance with regulations will always be a central focus. By conducting self-evaluation, setting specific goals and developing an action plan, colleges can ensure that they meet the required standards and provide an excellent education for all pupils.

Are you looking for a rewarding career in quality in further education, skills and learning? Check out our range of quality assurance jobs.

Barbara Veeramallay-Permaul
Barbara is an education leader with over 25 years in the skills and education sectors. She has a strong track record of steering organisations to meet industry standards and regulatory bodies such as Ofsted, having achieved Ofsted Good rating in her last 4 inspections. She is passionate about learner and employer experience, building great relationships and meeting organisational goals. Currently, Barbara is a NED for 2 organisations, as well as an expert quality, compliance, and safeguarding consultant to many others.