Preparing for an OFSTED inspection

Our primary school is about to undergo an OFSTED inspection. I expect you've either had one recently or are expecting one soon, too. Under the new inspection procedure where self-evaluation is emphasized, two forms will be very important, the so-called S3 and S4 forms. Both of these forms need to be completed and sent off to the inspectors before their visit as part of the information gathering process. Quoting from the OFSTED web site:

"Form S3 is completed by or on behalf of the appropriate authority for the school to indicate the extent to which it meets the requirements placed on it by statute. If completed on paper, Form S3 is returned to the registered inspector.

Form S4 is completed by the headteacher and is used to summarise the school's self-evaluation. If completed on paper, Form S4 is returned to the registered inspector"

While it is vital that the governing body knows what is in S4 and is able to cite the school's strengths and weaknesses (or more correctly areas identified for improvement), it is form S3 that the governing body should be most familiar with. Governing bodies have a statutory requirement to ensure that certain policies and procedures are in place in school. For example a racial equality and sex education policies to name but two. A full list of responsibilities is set out in the Guide to the Law for School Governors. It is in form S3 that these responsibilities are accounted for.

Guidance notes on completing forms S3 and S4 are available on the OFSTED web site.