ISI is appointed by the Department for Education to inspect British schools overseas (BSO).

BSO is the UK Government's inspection scheme for British international schools.

It enables schools to compare themselves to leading independent schools in England and many other British schools around the world.

This is the only accreditation scheme endorsed by the UK Government and advocated within the UK Government's international education strategy.

To learn more about ISI's BSO inspections please complete the form below or call +44 (0) 207 600 0100

What is BSO? +

BSO are schools around the world which are maintained and accredited against criteria set by the UK Government's Department for Education.

These reflect the fundamental British values of democracy, the rule of law, individual liberty and respect. In doing so, local laws and customs take precedence and are fully taken into consideration and do not affect the outcome of inspection.

The term BSO may only be officially used by a school that has been inspected by a UK Government approved BSO Inspectorate (such as ISI) within the last three years.

Only schools with valid BSO accreditation can call themselves 'British Schools Overseas'.

Further information is avaliable on the GOV.UK website.

What is BSO accreditation? +

The Department for Education's BSO inspection scheme is voluntary for overseas schools.

Overseas schools describing themselves as 'British' may choose to undergo a BSO inspection.

Schools that meet the inspection standards are then officially recognised by the UK Government under this accreditation scheme, and will subsequently be able to access a number of unique benefits of BSO accreditation.

The Department for Education has put in place arrangements for inspection against a common set of BSO Standards which compare to the Independent School Standards in England.

All BSO inspection reports are available on the GOV.UK website for parents and prospective parents to read, informing them on the the quality of provision within the inspected school.

Who can be accredited as a BSO? +

Any British school operating overseas wishing to achieve BSO accreditation can do so by having a BSO inspection every three years.

A school's performance against the BSO Standards must be at least 'Satisfactory' in order to be awarded BSO.

An essential element of the inspection is considering the extent to which the British character of the school is evident in its ethos, curriculum, teaching, care for pupils and pupils’ achievements.

By achieving BSO accreditation, participating schools will be able to demonstrate that they provide a British education with similar characteristics to an education in an independent school in England.

The inspection scheme also takes into account local laws, customs and traditions ensuring that outcomes both reflect and celebrate the international nature of schools.

Why apply for BSO accreditation? +

There are several reasons a British curriculum school located outside the UK would submit itself to the rigorous BSO inspection system and these may vary from country to country and school to school.

The benefits of BSO include:

  • UK Government accreditation: BSO schools have the right to display the ‘BSO Inspected’ logo on their websites and publications.

  • Benchmark against leading independent schools: Schools that have successfully undergone a BSO inspection demonstrate to the international school community that they have reached the standard the Department for Education require of independent schools in England.

  • Become a Department for Education registered BSO: BSOs become officially DfE registered, are listed on the GOV.UK website, and are uniquely the only British international schools given a Department for Education number (GIAS).

  • Support Early Career Teacher (ECT) Statutory Induction: BSO schools are the only schools eligible to offer Department for Education regulated ECT Induction in an international setting.
Applying the BSO Standards globally +

Within the BSO Standards it is recognised that schools in different countries may have to produce and implement policies, or take action, in accordance with local regulations.

It is not the purpose of these standards to ensure compliance with local regulation. However, the expectation is that the standards implemented by schools will ensure policies and procedures of a quality at least as high as those required in independent schools in England.

During inspection, schools must provide evidence to their BSO inspectorate that each standard has been met, and confirm to the inspectorate that to the best of their knowledge and belief, the school complies with all local regulatory requirements, and that there is no information available to them indicating that the school would have to close in the foreseeable future.

Where there is a conflict between the BSO Standards and local laws and customs, the requirements of the host country take precedence, and are fully taken into consideration and do not effect the outcome of inspections.

Any departures from the standards due to host country requirements should be communicated to inspectors so that they can be noted in inspection reports. Where the BSO Standards require a school to make information available, the requirement is satisfied by placing a copy of the information on the school’s website. Where necessary provision must be made to supply parents with paper copies on request.

Why choose ISI as your BSO inspectorate? +
  • Expert in quality assuring independent education

  • Approved by UK government to inspect over 1300 schools in the UK and abroad

  • Inspection experience in over 50 countries across five continents

  • Highly trained BSO inspectors, experienced in inspecting leading independent schools

  • Professional rigour, with a collaborative approach

Register your interest in a BSO inspection:

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