Section 48 inspections

If your school has a designated religious character, you're responsible for organising section 48 inspections on top of standard Ofsted inspections. Be clear on what these inspections are and how they work, so you can be confident in fulfilling this duty.

Last reviewed on 7 February 2024See updates
School types: AllSchool phases: AllRef: 5097
  1. What is a section 48 inspection?
  2. You're responsible for organising inspections 
  3. Inspection frequency
  4. Check the frameworks and processes for your religious authority

What is a section 48 inspection?

If your school is designated as having a religious character, it will have its denominational education and collective worship inspected under section 48 of the Education Act 2005.

These are conducted in addition to Ofsted inspections. 

This is explained in paragraphs 146 to 151 of Ofsted's School Inspection Handbook (2023).

You're responsible for organising inspections 

Your job is to:

  • Appoint the inspecting body, and
  • Make sure inspections happen within the correct time frame for your school (see the section below)

In practice, once you've appointed the inspecting body, they'll organise all the practical bits, like when exactly the visits will happen.

Choosing and appointing the inspecting body is down to the:

  • Foundation governors in a voluntary controlled school 
  • Governing board in other maintained schools 

You need to do this in consultation with the relevant faith body – check the list.

This is explained