The Independent Inquiry into Child Sexual Abuse is a public inquiry set up by the government in 2015 because of concerns that organisations had failed and continue to fail to protect children from sexual abuse.  The overarching Inquiry aims to

  • look at the big picture
  • learn the lessons from the past
  • take stock of child protection procedures that are currently in operation
  • set a new course for the future.

Under that umbrella, the Inquiry is currently running some 14 investigations, each of which has many strands.  ISI has been involved so far in providing evidence to three investigations where sexual abuse has been found to occur in schools, in investigations in to the Roman Catholic Church, the Anglican Church (in each case strands relating to schools) and residential schools.  As an inspector of schools, we are in a position to provide evidence to the Inquiry to support their understanding of how abuse occurred and how we can prevent it occurring in the future.  Hearings are set up to continue through 2020 with final conclusions and recommendations expected to follow in 2021.

ISI has listened with great sadness to the evidence from victims and survivors, and recognises their courage.  ISI is pleased to support the important work of the Inquiry and hopes to contribute to the development of safeguarding policy and guidance. ISI welcomes scrutiny and embraces any improvements it can make to its inspections, in order to ensure children are safe.



Safeguarding children is key to the ISI inspection framework and listening to the ‘voice of the child’ is the cornerstone of all our work.  ISI works pro-actively together with government departments and other agencies to ensure that the safety of children remains a priority in all the educational settings we inspect.  Our involvement with IICSA strengthens our continuous process of reflection and improvement.

Children, parents, practitioners or indeed anyone with safeguarding concerns about an independent school are encouraged to contact ISI by email to or telephone 020 7600 0100.


Investigation Reports:

Ampleforth and Downside (English Benedictine Congregation case study) Investigation Report

The Roman Catholic Church (EBC) case study: Ealing Abbey and St Benedict’s School Investigation Report

Anglican Church case studies: Chichester/Peter Ball Investigation Report

Research Reports:

Child sexual abuse in residential schools: a literature review

Deflection, denial and disbelief: social and political discourses about child sexual abuse and their influence on institutional responses: a rapid evidence assessment

What can be learnt from other jurisdictions about preventing and responding to child sexual abuse: a rapid evidence assessment

The impacts of child sexual abuse: a rapid evidence assessment

Safeguarding children from sexual abuse in residential schools

Child sexual abuse in the context of schools

Significant updates and new information about the Inquiry are posted on the Inquiry Twitter account @InquiryCSA