The current school inspection cycle began in September 2005. Ofsted is required to inspect each maintained school by 1 August 2009 and, following that inspection, to inspect each such school within three school years from the end of the school year in which the last inspection took place.
Within the cycle, the frequency of inspection is determined by Ofsted. Schools that are judged to require significant improvement are subject to a monitoring visit, which takes place between six and eight months after the relevant inspection, followed by a full inspection after a year. Those schools judged to require special measures receive termly monitoring visits until they are removed from this category. However, if they remain in special measures for two years they will be re-inspected at that point. In addition, some schools that are judged by Ofsted to be satisfactory overall but with underperformance in some areas of their work receive a monitoring visit between 12 and 18 months after the inspection.
The inspection cycle and other aspects of the school inspection arrangements from September 2009 are currently under review by the Department and Ofsted.