About us

Our management

Vanessa Ward: Chief Executive-Chief Inspector

Vanessa joined ISI in February 2021 in this newly merged role.

After graduating from the University of Edinburgh with MA (Hons) in English Literature, Vanessa attended the College of Law in London and Guildford before qualifying as a solicitor with first class honours. She practised for a number of years in London, specialising in commercial and media law. Having retrained as a teacher, her career in education leadership includes the headship of one of the highest performing state schools in the UK. While a headteacher, Vanessa was a member and elected vice-chair of the local authority schools forum.

Vanessa joined Ofsted as one of Her Majesty’s Inspectors Education (HMI), where she led inspections in both the state and independent sectors. Vanessa was seconded to the newly-formed Unregistered Schools Taskforce, which conducted criminal investigations into illegal educational provision. Vanessa also has commercial experience building a successful education consultancy practice supporting school improvement. She has combined this with her work as a School Improvement Partner (SIP) for Achieving for Children in Richmond and Kingston local authorities, while continuing her work with Ofsted as an Ofsted Inspector. 

Vanessa has also served on a school governing body as both foundation and parent governor, including chairing the governors’ personnel committee.

Richard Johnson: Deputy Chief-Inspector

Richard is responsible for overseeing the delivery of ISI's inspections in England and at British schools overseas. He was previously an ISI Reporting Inspector, quality assurance monitor and report editor.

Richard is a former independent school headteacher, with over thirty years of teaching experience in both boarding and day schools. Key responsibilities during this period included school development, curriculum and pupil achievement, the management of teaching staff, the pastoral care of pupils and school inspection preparation.

Based in Wiltshire, Richard is also a maintained school governor and a trustee of a multi-academy trust.

Rhiannon Williams: Deputy Chief Inspector

Rhiannon was formerly Director of Studies at a large day and boarding prep school for children aged 3-13.

Rhiannon has worked in the education sector for over a decade, prior to which she was an environmental lawyer. This included working in regulatory compliance at the European Commission, and as a university lecturer and researcher.

Rhiannon is a former solicitor, whose qualifications include PGCE (Cantab), MA Law (Cantab) and Licence Spéciale en Droit Européen (ULB).