New Ofsted guidance for the inspection of safeguarding


This month we’re looking at a new publication which is hot off the press…

New Ofsted guidance for the inspection of safeguarding

Ofsted has issued guidance for inspectors to use when inspecting safeguarding under the common inspection framework.  The guidance comes in the form of a handbook, which sets out exactly what inspectors must consider.

Why read the handbook when it’s for inspectors?

The handbook makes good reading for practitioners, as it outlines the evidence that Ofsted inspectors will look for during early years inspections.  It also sets out the judgments that inspectors will make and on which they will report.  So the handbook is not only a very useful summary of a setting’s safeguarding responsibilities, the clear insight into exactly how your provision in this area will be judged allows you to consider how well you are doing for yourself according to clear criteria.


You can then reflect on your findings and make any necessary adjustments to your provision.  This is good practice, as of course robust safeguarding is absolutely crucial to children’s welfare.  Your efforts should also be reflected in the judgments you receive at the time of your next Ofsted inspection.


Evidence Ofsted inspectors are looking to see

The handbook provides guidance on the evidence inspectors should look for when reviewing safeguarding arrangements in a setting.  Inspectors should look for evidence of five main aspects of the setting’s safeguarding arrangements:

  • The extent to which leaders, governors and managers create a positive culture and ethos where safeguarding is an important part of everyday life in the setting, backed up by training at every level
  • The content, application and effectiveness of safeguarding policies and procedures, and safe recruitment and vetting processes
  • The quality of safeguarding practice, including evidence that staff are aware of the signs that children or learners may be at risk of harm either within the setting or in the family or wider community outside the setting
  • The timeliness of response to any safeguarding concerns that are raised
  • The quality of work to support multi-agency plans around the child or learner.

(Inspectors are reminded that the guidance is not exhaustive and should be read in conjunction with the relevant inspection handbook).


Safeguarding is not just about protecting children

The handbook also makes clear that safeguarding is not just about protecting children, learners and vulnerable adults from deliberate harm, neglect and failure to act.  It relates to broader aspects of care and education, including:

  • Children’s and learners’ health and safety and well-being, including their mental health
  • Meeting the needs of children who have special educational needs and/or disabilities
  • The use of reasonable force
  • Meeting the needs of children and learners with medical conditions
  • Providing first aid
  • Educational visits
  • Intimate care and emotional well-being
  • Online safety and associated issues
  • Appropriate arrangements to ensure children’s and learners’ security, taking into account the local context.


The full handbook

To access the handbook Guidance for inspectors undertaking inspection under the common inspection framework, visit

It is very much worth your while.


One thought on “New Ofsted guidance for the inspection of safeguarding

  1. Paul reffill says:

    i support the need to safeguarding to everyone instead of inspectors, as safeguarding is a thing that makes independent in small tasks or things for child care. I really liked the post.

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