About ISI

Internal Quality Assurance

Quality assurance

ISI is committed to inspections of the highest standard in order to improve the quality of education and safeguarding of children and young people in education.

Inspector selection and training

ISI’s expertise starts with the selection and training of high quality inspectors with front-line experience in independent schools. In order to achieve quality and consistency, ISI has extensive initial inspector training and regular update training for all reporting (lead) inspectors twice a year covering matters such as our philosophy of inspection, educational quality, the legal requirements of schools, the framework and the Code of Conduct for inspectors. Safeguarding is covered extensively throughout our training. A suite of on-line modules is currently also in development which will further support inspectors at all stages.

Inspection quality assurance process

Internal quality assurance process involves a number of different processes, all of which serve to ensure that ISI inspections are rigorous, fair and consistent.

Each inspection is led by a professional ISI reporting inspector. On inspection, evidence is gathered by the inspection team and recorded electronically. It is brought to team meetings and consideration is given as to its impact on judgements.  Triangulation of evidence is key to the decision making process. As a result of these discussions action points and recommendations are developed, linked to areas of non-compliance or weakness, and are shared with the school. Judgements are made corporately.
The draft inspection report is shared with the team to ensure that it accurately reflects the evidence and discussions, including both the judgements and any action points or recommendations.

Editing: Reports are each quality assured by an experienced reporting inspector who is otherwise independent of the particular inspection.  Bringing a fresh and independent eye to the draft report and evidence, the editor ensures the judgements reflect the recorded evidence and checks that the action points and recommendations fit the identified areas of non-compliance or weakness. If necessary, changes may be recommended to the reporting inspector. The senior editor and duty team are available for an additional layer of support and advice.

Factual accuracy checking: Before publication the draft report is sent to the school for a factual accuracy check

Monitoring: ISI also uses experienced inspectors to monitor the work of colleagues ‘on the ground’. Monitors may be deployed on inspections for routine monitoring to ensure consistency and quality, for reasons of sensitivity of the individual inspection, for training, support or performance management purposes.

Evaluation: Post inspection, feedback is gathered from inspectors, editors and the school to support ISI’s training, support and performance review processes.

Complaints: There is also a three-stage complaints process which ultimately entails referral to an external adjudicator. In rare cases complaints can delay publication. If new information comes to light post-publication, the DfE can commission a new inspection.