Parents Guide To Understanding An Ofsted Report

Parents Guide To Understanding An Ofsted Report

Ofsted Reports can be quite confusing to a parent who is researching for information on a setting to send their child, so we have put together an easy step by step guide as to what is published on the reports and the reasons as to why.

Who are Ofsted?

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They report directly to Parliament and are independent and impartial. Ofsted inspect and regulate services which care for children and young people, and those providing education and skills for learners of all ages.

What is an Ofsted Report ?

An Ofsted Report is information about an inspection carried out unannounced to a setting. Every setting will have one main inspection every few years although this may be more frequent if the setting requires improvement or has received a complaint.


Inspections are carried out by one or more inspectors and each inspection is based around the national standards, set out by the government to ensure they are met by all providers.

The national standards outline the quality below which no provider may fall. However, they are also intended to recognise and support a continuous improvement in quality in all settings.

Where can I find an ofsted report?

You can find Ofsted reports on the official Ofsted website .


Tips for your search

  1. Go to
  2. Click on Inspection Reports
  3. Click on Find an Inspection Report

You can then search by either of the following;

  • Name, address or URN
  • Distance from your home
  • Region, local authority or constituency
  • Date published


If you wish to search for settings as opposed to Childminders then select the option

  • Childcare on Non Domestic Premises (Selecting this option will narrow the search down for you, so you’re not looking through pages of Childminders!)



What will the report tell me?

The report has information about the setting that the inspectors gathered during the inspection along with their opinion of what they saw on their visit and how it compares against the standards.

The report will have information such as a brief description of the setting along with the inspection’s findings to show;

  • How good they feel the setting is and what they will need to do to improve
  • How well the children are doing
  • How well the children are taught
  • How effective the leadership and management is in the setting
  • Evidence of What parents and carers think about the setting
  • Compliance with regulations and statutory responsibilities (Policies and Procedures).

Then overall, the judgement grades to reflect how good a setting is at particular aspects

  • Grade 1 (Outstanding)
  • Grade 2 (Good)
  • Grade 3 (Requires Improvement)
  • Grade 4 (Inadequate).


What happens if a setting is judged inadequate or has reason for concern?

If a school is judged as ‘requires improvement’ or is judged ‘inadequate’ and has serious weaknesses or requires special measures the report will explain why with the inspector’s findings. This will mean that further inspections and time frames will be set to ensure any actions given are completed before they’re inspected again.

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How can I find out if there have been any Complaints raised?
Details of any complaints investigated will be shown as well as any details of information received about a provider’s compliance with the requirements for registration where:

  • Action was taken for the provider to meet statutory requirements
  • Or the provider took action to meet statutory requirements.

The only time complaints are not published with any information or a concern is when no action was taken, however, providers are required to keep their own records of complaints, which parents and carers can ask to see.


So do I only choose a nursery with an Outstanding Ofsted Report?

As with any Ofsted Report whether it is judged “Outstanding” or “Inadequate” the best way to ensure you are choosing the right setting is to go and view the setting yourself. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about the report and what they are doing to improve actions raised.

Many parents who have viewed settings rated with the “Outstanding” Ofsted report, have shown alone, that it was not enough to persuade them to take a place. As a parent you know what is best for your child and when visiting nurseries in person, you are more likely to know if the setting is right for you both.


There is no right or wrong choice when making a decision based on an Ofsted Report, and as parents we tend to have a gut instinct that kicks in to know when we feel safe and secure within our surroundings.

An important factor to consider is whether the staff install you with the confidence needed to leave your treasured little one in their hands and most importantly if your child appears happy and relaxed within their care.

Search quickly and easily for nurseries here

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