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School records guide

School inspection records

The School Inspectorate

Inspection of elementary schools was made a condition of government grants from 1839 and, at first, the inspectorate was organised by religious denomination.

The denominational nature of inspection was abolished in the 1870s and replaced by a system based on territorial districts. 

From this date, HMIs did not have to comment on religious instruction.

For a detailed history of the inspectorate, and information about records held centrally at TNA, see A Morton, Education and the State from 1833 (Kew, 1997).

HMI reports

Reports of HMIs are usually found with the records of individual schools. A summary of the report was also copied into the school’s log book, by the headteacher.

They usually give a brief history of the school and comment on its general and academic progress.

  • For HMI reports on Norwich schools, 1948-65, see N/ED 4/1-112
  • For HMI reports on schools in Great Yarmouth, 1904-65, see Y/ED 694-714
  • From July 1991, inspectors’ reports are listed with the records of individual schools

Diocesan inspector's reports

The Diocese of Norwich also inspected religious education in Church of England Schools.

Reports of the diocesan inspectors give details of the type and standard of instruction. 

They are usually located with the records of individual schools or sometimes in the parish records.

Summaries of the reports were often entered into the school’s log book.

There are also minutes of the Norwich Diocesan Religious Instruction Committee, 1930-45, which includes annual meeting minutes of the Diocesan inspectors. See DN/DBF 2/73.

Ofsted reports

Ofsted took over from HMI in 1992 and their inspection reports are usually listed with the records of individual schools.

For some schools, copies of Ofsted inspection reports can be found in the files of textual records, compiled by the BBC relating to its broadcasts from the 1980s to 2002. The files covering schools are arranged in an alpha-numeric sequence and are referenced AUD 1/1/1014-1172.

Some records concerning Ofsted inspections are also held by TNA.

For current reports on individual schools, please refer to Ofsted’s website.