ISI Governance at a Glance

ISI’s Purpose

ISI is an independent, expert organisation committed to helping ensure that all children receive a high quality education in an environment that also promotes and safeguards their welfare. It is appointed by DfE to conduct high-quality inspections against the regulations for independent schools in the UK and overseas, and also provides support and guidance to assist independent schools in the continuous improvement of their educational offer. It plays an important role in assuring high standards across the diverse range of schools that make up the membership of the ISC, while recognising and celebrating individual schools’ educational ethos. It also inspects private further education colleges, and provides training and advisory services through its subsidiary, ISI Consultancy.

The Board

The Board of Directors has overall responsibility for the organisation, ensuring delivery of its mission and its financial viability. It sets and oversees ISI’s strategy (with the executive team), agrees policies and procedures to ensure effective decision-making and provides appropriate challenge. A fundamental part of its role is to monitor overall organisational performance against key performance indicators and to monitor compliance with ISI’s appointment by DfE.  The Board also promotes the long-term success of the organisation by identifying opportunities to create and preserve value and by overseeing the identification and mitigation of risks. As part of that, it ensures that there is meaningful engagement with ISI’s stakeholders, including its staff, actively seeking to foster good relationships with all.

The Board sets the tone for the whole organisation, operating in accordance with the Nolan Principles, promoting ISI’s purpose and ensuring that its values, strategy and culture underpin that purpose.

The Board will comprise up to eleven experienced and independent directors who are committed to ISI’s purpose and mission. They will bring a wide range of skills, expertise and backgrounds to support delivery of ISI’s objectives and ensure its success in line with good governance.

Chair of the Board

The Chair is responsible for leading the ISI Board. S/he works with its directors and chairs its meetings to support informed and robust decision-making, ensuring that the Board is effective in its tasks of setting and monitoring the company’s strategy and operations.  The Chair ensures that the Board maintains high standards of corporate governance, and leads the Board in upholding the professional integrity of ISI, including the Nolan Principles of public office. S/he supports and challenges the Chief Executive as their line manager, while also providing support to the Chief Inspector. The Chair also acts as an ambassador for ISI and helps foster strong stakeholder relationships with outside organisations.

Vice Chair of the Board

The Vice Chair will:

  • support the Chair in the exercise of her/his duties.
  • stand in for the Chair in their absence and in particular to chair meetings of the Board.
  • lead on the evaluation of the performance of the Chair on behalf of the Board.
  • together with the Chair, ensure the Board carries out a regular self-appraisal of its effectiveness and ways of working.


Board Committees

The detailed scrutiny of certain areas of the Board’s responsibilities is delegated to two Committees, which report to the Board. These are the Finance and Risk Committee and the Nominations and Remuneration Committee. The Board is also supported by an education advisory forum which helps inform ISI’s key policy and strategy decisions.

Advisory Forum

The advisory forum will comprise highly experienced and qualified representatives from across the educational and inspection sectors, including from the independent schools’ associations and the Independent Schools Council. It will act as a stimulus for high-quality strategic thinking to inform the continuous development of ISI’s inspection services and delivery of its educational mission, in particular:

  • to provide in-depth knowledge, skills and understanding of education & inspection to inform discussion and debate
  • to provide advice, guidance and recommendations to the ISI Board


The Chief Executive

The day-to-day management of ISI is delegated by the Board to the Chief Executive and their executive team. The Chief Executive is accountable to the Board for the overall success of the organisation, and the accomplishment of the organisation’s strategic goals. S/he leads the Executive team in developing strategy and policy for consideration by the Board and in ensuring ISI’s operational effectiveness and adherence to agreed budgets. The Chief Executive works with the Chief Inspector and the Board to ensure the integrity and independence of inspection in line with the requirements of the Department for Education.

The Chief Inspector

The Chief Inspector is the professional lead for ISI, providing the thought leadership and research to ensure ISI remains at the forefront of inspection, delivering on ISI’s core mission of child welfare and school improvement. S/he has responsibility for ensuring the quality and development of ISI’s inspection framework, monitoring its effectiveness and leading ISI’s engagement with Government in influencing the development of educational policy and regulation. The Chief Inspector, as a key member of the leadership team, works closely with the Chief Executive and Board in developing strategy, and works with them to ensure the independence of the inspection process.

The Executive Team

The Executive team manage ISI’s day-to-day operations and implementation of the strategy approved by the Board, within agreed financial and other parameters. They support the Board by developing recommended strategy, providing management information against agreed key performance indicators and updates on significant changes to the external context that may have an impact on ISI’s business.