What is an additional inspection?
Additional inspections are non-routine inspection visits commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) as a result of regulatory failings identified and/or concerns raised.
Additional inspections focus on a school’s compliance with regulations and are not investigations of the details of an individual complaint about a school. Neither ISI nor inspectors are permitted to disclose what may have instigated a visit. The scope of the inspection and the amount of notice provided to the school are determined by the DfE upon commissioning.
If the DfE requires the inspection to be at no notice, ISI contacts the head (or person in charge if the head is absent) on the morning of the inspection visit, usually at about 0800.
The visit usually begins at 0900 and ends by approx. 1600. The visit is led by a senior ISI Reporting Inspector, who is accompanied by at least one other inspector with relevant expertise.
Actions for heads
When a visit takes place, the head is given the name and contact details of a senior member of ISI staff whom they may phone in case any queries arise during the day. ISI does not notify ISC Associations or any other third party when such visits are taking place, but heads are advised to contact their Association if they are concerned. In any event, heads should notify their Association after such a visit has taken place.
After the visit
Heads will be contacted by the DfE when an Advice Note detailing the visit has been received. Where regulatory failings have been identified, the options available to the DfE, as regulator, and the detail of the processes are explained in: Independent Schools: Regulatory and Enforcement Action Policy Statement. Typically the DfE will issue a statutory notice requiring the school to provide an Action Plan specifying how it will remedy any regulatory deficiencies and within what timescale. ISI may be commissioned to make further inspection visits to monitor the school’s progress towards full compliance. Where a school does not implement its Action Plan effectively, the Secretary of State may at that point consider the continued registration of the school.