ISI’s internal quality assurance processes involve a number of different stages. These serve to ensure that our inspections findings are fair and reliable and that our reports are clear and based on robust evidence.

Inspectors are carefully selected and properly trained. They also receive regular updates about our work and any changes to regulations or requirements. Reporting inspectors are assessed for suitability at every stage of their recruitment and training before they lead inspections. As part of their training, reporting inspectors shadow inspections, they are supported by experienced reporting inspectors and are monitored for their suitability.

ISI has a process for monitoring the quality of the work of all inspectors. ISI has a group of experienced reporting inspectors who work as monitors. ISI gathers information from team and reporting inspectors, monitors and from those conducting quality assurance tasks. Following every inspection, we ask school leaders for their views about how the inspection was conducted. We feed this back and provide appropriate additional training and guidance when necessary. Where inspectors fall short of our expectations, we take action.

On inspection, evidence is gathered, recorded and evaluated by the inspection team. The inspection team share and discuss the evidence, agree on judgements and develop areas for action. Triangulation of evidence is key to the formation of the judgements. Judgements are made corporately by the inspection team. A team of experienced inspectors is available on duty for support and these senior inspectors are available to give advice on any inspection. They regularly join inspections to check the quality and consistency of our work.

The reporting inspector writes the inspection report shortly after the end of the onsite inspection. All inspection reports are subject to our quality assurance processes. These involve ensuring that the evidence supports the judgements reached onsite. We also check reports to ensure that they clearly state the reasons for the judgements. A copy of the draft report is sent to the school so that leaders can check for any inaccuracies. This is called the factual accuracy check (FAC).

When the report is finalised, following quality assurance, a final copy of the report is sent to the school prior to publication on our website. At this stage, the school will be invited to give feedback on the inspection process. The final report is also sent to the Department for Education.