Guidance for Teachers

How are teachers involved in the inspection process?

Many teachers will be involved in the preparation of pre-inspection documentation. Most of this is documentation which already exists in schools, such as statutory and other policies and schemes of work. The volume of documentation provided by schools is usually extensive, so do not be surprised if inspectors, having digested the documentation in advance of the inspection, still have questions. They may need to clear up certain points, and such questioning is also part of the process of ‘triangulating’ evidence.

You will come across inspectors in a variety of ways during inspections. You are most likely to encounter an inspector observing a lesson. Lesson observations vary in length depending on the focus of evidence collection. The emphasis is on the impact of teaching rather than the teacher, with inspectors taking a particular interest in your pupils’ achievement and progress. Sometimes inspectors may visit lessons for a shorter period to gather evidence about a particular issue, e.g. classroom displays or use of ICT.

You do not have to provide a lesson plan for every lesson during the inspection week, but these are very useful and should be shared if you have them. Any other information which helps the inspector put the lesson into context may also be shared.

After observing a lesson, inspectors may try to have a brief professional dialogue with the teacher on the lesson's key strengths and any areas for development. Such dialogue is always confidential: inspectors do not share information with the school about individual lessons observed.

You may also encounter inspectors at registration, tutor periods and extra-curricular activities. If you hold responsibility for any key aspects of school life, e.g. pastoral care, you should expect to have an interview with an inspector. Inspectors will also meet with a sample of staff to discuss your understanding of and contribution to those aspects.

If you want to think about such interviews beforehand, the blank forms and question banks used by inspectors are available through the school’s log-in account on the ISI portal.

If you would like to raise any issue with inspectors before the inspection you may do so by email to If you have any issues during the inspection, it is best to approach the reporting inspector directly or leave a note at the inspectors' base. If for some reason this is not possible, then you can email the above address or call the ISI office on 020 7600 0100. In general, if you are concerned about any aspect of an inspection, you should immediately alert the head so that the matter may be raised with the reporting inspector.