Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. They report directly to Parliament and are independent and impartial. They inspect all schools in England. The aim of their inspections are to provide information to parents, to promote improvement and to hold schools to account for the public money they receive. Notice of an inspection is normally given the afternoon before the inspection and usually takes two days to complete.
From the Ofsted Guide for Parents:
“Inspectors look at the school’s self-evaluation and analyse the pupils’ progress and attainment. They talk to the headteacher, governors, staff, and pupils, and consider your views as a parent. They spend most of their time observing a wide range of lessons and looking at the quality of teaching in the school, and its impact on learning and progress. They also look at the behaviour and safety of pupils at the school, the promotion of spiritual, moral, social and cultural development; and how well the school is led and managed.
We give schools an overall grade from 1 to 4: grade 1 (outstanding)
grade 2 (good) grade 3 (requires improvement) grade 4 (inadequate).
The lead inspector reports her or his judgement to the headteacher and governors. The inspectors’ findings are published in a report for the school, parents and the wider community. Inspection reports provide information about the effectiveness of the school’s work and contain recommendations about what the school should do to improve further.”
Here is a link to the most recent Ofsted Report.