The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) is the independent, government-approved body responsible for the inspection of schools in membership of the Associations that make up the Independent Schools Council.
ISI is approved for the purpose of inspection under Section 109 of the Education and Skills Act 2008 and reports to the Department for Education on the extent to which schools meet statutory requirements.
ISI provides objective inspections to safeguard the quality and effectiveness of the education, care and welfare of children in schools. ISI regularly contributes to the development of the national policy for education and welfare, including the latest DfE legislation and statutory guidance.
Safeguarding is at the heart of all ISI inspections. This involves checking whether schools are compliant with the minimum standards required, not only in terms of policies and procedures but, importantly, in what they do.
Inspectors not only check documentation but also interview staff and pupils to satisfy themselves as to the school’s safeguarding culture.
ISI inspections pay particular attention to hearing pupils’ voices. All pupils are invited to complete a confidential questionnaire in advance of the inspection and inspectors prioritise formal and informal meetings with pupils to ensure that any issues raised can be followed up during the visit. For the same reason all parents are invited to complete a confidential pre-inspection questionnaire.
ISI inspections include an element of peer review, thus highly trained and experienced professional Reporting Inspectors are joined on inspections by current practitioners with day-to-day experience and understanding of leadership and management in today’s schools. Inspections seek to aid schools with self-improvement and, as part of the inspection service, ISI provides training for school staff, regular guidance and updates, consultations and briefings, and access to support and advice year round.