Office for Standards in Education
or, officially:
the Office of Her Majesty's Chief Inspector of Schools in England

Ofsted is responsible for the inspection and regulation of education in England.

Set up on 1st September 1992, it is a non-ministerial government department, independent from the Department for Education & Skills.

OFSTED's remit is to improve standards of achievement and quality of education through regular independent inspection, public reporting and informed independent advice. OFSTED's principal task is the management of the system of school inspection defined originally by the Education (Schools) Act 1992. This provides for the regular inspection of all 24,000 schools in England which are wholly or mainly state-funded.

OFSTED's role has been expanded over successive years. In addition to school inspections they undertake reviews of local education authorities, inspect initial teacher training courses, the private, voluntary and independent nursery sector, independent schools and service children's education and report on LEA-funded youth services. We also report on the impact of government initiatives such as education action zones and excellence in cities.

In 2001, OFSTED has taken responsibility for inspecting all 16-19 education and training in sixth form and further education colleges. Through its area-wide inspection reports, it reviews the overall planning of education and training provision for post-16 learners throughout England.

From September 2001, OFSTED is responsible for the regulation and inspection of all early years child care and education.

OFSTED's publications programme includes frameworks and guidance manuals to help those involved in the inspection process at all levels. We also publish reports and surveys on many aspects of teaching and school management which highlight good practice and provide advice to government.

Adapted from http://www.ofsted.gov.uk/about/index.htm

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