How Ofsted judges 'overall effectiveness'

Find out how Ofsted measures 'overall effectiveness' so that you're clear on how your school will be inspected under the 2019 framework.

Last reviewed on 27 February 2023
School types: All · School phases: All
Ref: 4410
  1. What is it?
  2. Grade descriptors for 'overall effectiveness'

As a governing board, you don't need to know how Ofsted inspectors will judge 'overall effectiveness' in great detail, but you should familiarise yourself with the basics. 

Read our article on how governance will be inspected to be clear about what inspectors will be looking for from you during an inspection.

What is it?

Overall effectiveness is the judgement Ofsted inspectors come to when they've taken into account the 4 key judgements:

Where relevant, they'll also judge the effectiveness of: 

  • Early years education
  • Sixth form provision

In making their judgement, inspectors will also consider:

  • Pupils’ spiritual, moral, social and cultural development
  • The extent to which your school's education provision meets the needs of its range of pupils, including those with special educational needs and/or disabilities 

This is explained in paragraphs 453 to 459 of the School Inspection Handbook.

Inspectors will judge the effectiveness of your school's safeguarding arrangements. If