How we inspect

ISI undertakes two types of routine inspection.

Routine inspections: 

Regulatory Compliance Inspection (RCI): This inspection checks that a school's policies and practices are compliant with the regulations set by the Department for Education.

Educational Quality with Focused Compliance (EQI): This inspection looks at the quality of education a school provides and checks a targeted section of policies and practices.

There are three types of non-routine inspection.

Non-routine inspections: 

Material Change: This occurs when a school applies to change the terms of its registration with the Department for Education, for example by extending its age range.

Progress Monitoring: This occurs when a school has failed to meet the standards on a scheduled inspection and is visited for a second time, to inspect for improvement.

Additional: This occurs when the Department for Education have reason for a school to be inspected urgently.

Notice period: 

Inspections may be announced or unannounced.  Routine inspections are always announced and schools are given a maximum of two days’ notice.  For an additional inspection, the DfE specifies the notice period to be given. If the inspection is to be unannounced, the school is contacted at most a few hours before the inspection team arrives on site.

Inspection cycle:

Our inspection cycle runs over a 6 year period.  Every school will have one RCI and one EQI during each six-year inspection cycle. The current cycle began in 2016 and has been extended to summer 2023 (due to the suspension of routine inspections during the Covid-19 pandemic).

We publish all inspection reports on this website and schools are obliged to publish their own inspection reports on their websites. 

Read more:

How to read ISI inspection reports
ISI Inspection Framework
Inspection reports