Getting Ready for an ISI Inspection

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January 5, 2016 by dragonflytraining

A new post via @CoyneDrS

Some tips to take the guesswork out of your preparation!

There are lots of areas to consider before an impending ISI inspection but here are two really important ones:

  1. Has the school followed up all the recommendations listed in the last inspection; and
  2. Is the school up to date with its regulatory compliance?

It is really important that the institution does not just pay lip service to a recommendation and can show real evidence of improvement. This is best done via the school’s self-evaluation form and any action plans or other evidence should be available for the inspectors.

There is a belief amongst some school leaders that inspectors will investigate every minute detail of the school. They do not do this; they have not got the time. The areas that they will consider are listed in the ISI Handbook.

Schools should make sure that someone has read the ISI framework in detail and should familiarise all the SLT with its content. This task is not to be underestimated as the paperwork is lengthy and the advice changes frequently – often three times a year. ISI sends out frequent Updates to Schools and a member of the SLT needs to check these thoroughly and ensure that the school is compliant.

Inspectors will only investigate matters in detail if they feel there is a problem. The more information they are given, the more they are likely to feel that there is no issue and look elsewhere. For instance, if the school wants to stress that it takes its responsibilities seriously for pupils with special educational needs, it could ensure that all staff use a prescribed lesson plan form for inspectors with a space to indicate the SEN pupils and their issues. When all the inspection team indicates compliance, they will move on and investigate other areas.

One common mistake that SLTs make is to miss out on updating their school information (exam results, staff list etc.) with ISI every September. As such, it is possible for the inspectors to arrive using the previous year’s timetable, containing staff who no longer work at the school! A very bad start and it gives the inspection team a very poor impression of the school.

Another problem is that the SLT often assumes that the Safeguarding Officer has updated the Safeguarding (formerly Child Protection) Policy. The regulatory requirements change here regularly and this policy needs to be updated carefully. Imagine the headlines in the local paper if this crucial area of regulatory requirement is found wanting by inspectors. This is a very important area and must not be left to middle management.

Follow these suggestions and you should not have too many problems; good luck! If you need any help, feel free to contact Coyne or Dragonfly Training!

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