Ofsted has announced it will introduce shorter, more frequent visits as part of its reforms to the school inspection system.
The organisation's head, Sir Michael Wilshaw, launched an eight week consultation on the changes, claiming they would maintain education standards in the UK and lead to more rapid improvements in the system.
However, there are no plans to make unannounced visits a routine occurrence, as Sir Michael believes there is currently no need for them.
The Ofsted chief said schools and colleges have been improving at a faster rate than ever before, responding well to a more challenging inspection framework. He emphasised the importance of the Requires Improvement judgement and Ofsted's insistence "that only good is good enough".
As most schools maintain their improved performance, Sir Michael said there is a case for more proportionate inspections and the creation of a better dialogue between headteachers and inspectors.
At present, five years can elapse before a good school or provider is revisited by Ofsted inspectors. Sir Michael said this is too long for parents, employers and inspectors alike.
The shorter, more frequent visits will focus on whether good standards have been maintained by the institutions.
"In particular, inspectors will be looking to see that headteachers and leadership teams have identified key areas of concern and have the capability to address them," Sir Michael commented.
"For good schools and further education and skills providers who have the capacity to show this, the changes being proposed will mean that there is no longer any need for a full inspection."
Full inspections will be carried out if serious causes for concern are identified in the institutions or to confirm that schools have improved to outstanding.
The shorter visits are to focus on the breadth of the school curriculum, the quality of early learning and the relevance of courses and training in further education and skills.
A common inspection framework is also due to be introduced by Ofsted, which will be adapted to suit the individual institutions inspected by the organisation.
Posted by Theo Foulds