Emergency Visits

What is an Emergency Visit?

Emergency Visits are non-routine, no-notice visits commissioned by the Department for Education (DfE) as a result of regulatory failings identified and/or concerns raised. Emergency Visits 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 able to disclose what may have instigated a visit.

ISI will contact the head (or person in charge if the head is absent) on the morning of the Emergency Visit, usually at about 0800. 

The visit
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 school will be asked to provide an Action Plan specifying how they will remedy these.

In cases where a significant number of failings have been identified, the DfE may issue a Notice to Improve, requiring that an Action Plan be provided within 28 days and implemented within three months. Where it is found that the school has not implemented its Action Plan, the DfE may at that point consider the continued registration of the school.