Guide to Reports

Inspection reports provide objective and reliable accounts of the outcomes for pupils within a school. 

Reports make a clear statement about the school’s compliance with regulations and, if applicable, the necessary action it must take to meet requirements. Depending on the type of inspection, recommendations may also be made to help schools identify and address any areas for improvement and build on good practice.

What is included in an educational quality inspection report?

Educational quality inspection reports offer detailed assessments of a school. The report includes an introductory section on the characteristics of the school, such as its aims and ethos.

Reports focus on the two main outcomes for pupils: achievement and personal development. Reports include factors which contribute to these outcomes such as the curriculum, teaching, pastoral care, and governance, leadership and management.

Where applicable, these reports also include findings on boarding provision and the Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS).

The ISI grading system

For educational quality inspections ISI uses grades as part of the report. ISI does not make a single overarching judgement on a school but instead makes a clear judgement for the two aspects using one of the following four grades:

  • Excellent
  • Good
  • Sound
  • Unsatisfactory


ISI does not use the same judgement words as Ofsted – see Comparing Reports for more information. 

Registered Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) settings are reported on separately and here ISI is required to use the same terminology and approach as in Ofsted inspections because Ofsted is the registering body:

  • Outstanding
  • Good
  • Requires improvement
  • Inadequate


What can an educational quality inspection report tell me about a school?

Inspection reports give a frank and objective overall account of a school’s provision and outcomes for pupils. They should indicate how well the education caters for pupils of different needs and abilities, how broad the education is, what the atmosphere of the school is like – in terms of the ethos, behaviour of pupils and relationships – and how well pupils are cared for.

As such they may play a role in helping you to choose a school for your child. However, reports are no substitute for a personal visit to the school to evaluate for yourself the extent to which you think it will suit the talents, character and needs of your own child. Our reports are not designed to provide a ranking or league table of schools.

What is included in a Regulatory Compliance Inspection report?

Regulatory Compliance Inspection reports provide a summary only of whether a school meets or does not meet the minimum standards required by the relevant regulations (Independent School Standards Regulations, National Minimum Standards and Early Years Foundation Stage statutory requirements as applicable).

What is included in an Intermediate Inspection report?

Intermediate Inspections were conducted between 2012 and 2016 and reports are published as a result of focused inspections for boarding welfare provision or registered Early Years Foundation Stage (EYFS) settings. These reports do not include information on a school's provision beyond that of the National Minimum Standards for Boarding or the requirements of the EYFS, whichever is applicable.