The United Kingdom's Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills, or OFSTED, is an independent organization that monitors and regulates educational services for all ages and general services for children and young people. This consists of regular inspections and regulatory visits at educational institutions and service providers throughout England.
OFSTED inspects schools, academies and initial teacher training programs as well as a range of educational programs and institutions outside of higher education. It also inspects agencies involved with child care, adoption and foster parenting and regulates children's social care services.
Reports of OFSTED inspections are published online and can be viewed by the general public. OFSTED also reports directly to policymakers in Parliament on the effectiveness of the services they inspect. Providers that are not up to the agency's standards receive help with improvement, and the agency monitors these providers' progress.
As of 2014, the organization's stated priorities include consulting on shorter but more regular inspections, developing a common inspection framework, and contracting directly with inspectors for furthering education and skills. OFSTED also plans to develop the organization's regional structure, create better local intelligence and stronger relationships with key regional partners, and further develop the integrated inspection model for children’s services.