Before inspection +

Routine inspections are usually announced, and schools are given a maximum of two days’ notice. Usually, the school will be notified, by a telephone call from a member of the ISI delivery team, the day before the onsite inspection commences. The reporting inspector will speak with the headteacher in a pre-inspection call at a convenient time on the same day as the notification call to discuss the inspection process, and answer any questions the headteacher may have.

The Department for Education specifies the notice period to be given for non-routine inspections. If the inspection is to be unannounced, the school is usually contacted up to an hour before the inspection team arrives on site.

Onsite inspection +

The focus of onsite inspection is to see the school in its day-to-day operation and to hear the views of pupils. Time will be spent with leadership to hear about strategic planning, but the majority of time will be spent by inspectors undertaking planned inspection activities and 'out and about' in the school. Inspectors will speak with as many people as possible, including pupils, staff, parents, leaders, the proprietor/s, governors and the Chair of Governors.

The reporting inspector will keep in touch with the headteacher frequently during the onsite inspection. At the end of the onsite inspection, the reporting inspector and team will give provisional feedback to the school on the emerging findings of the inspection.

These findings do not become final until the publication of the inspection report.

Indicative timeline +