The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) is an organisation responsible for the inspection of independent schools in England which are members of organisations affiliated to the Independent Schools Council (ISC).


ISI is one of three independent schools inspectorates empowered to carry out inspections through an agreement with the Department for Education (DfE). As of January 2012, ISI also inspects boarding school welfare provision for the schools within its remit, making it the largest inspectorate of school boarding provision in the UK. ISI's work is monitored by Ofsted on behalf of the Department for Education. Most independent schools which are not members of the ISC are inspected by Ofsted;. ISI is a DfE approved inspectorate for British Schools Overseas and provides education services, including inspection, in all the continents of the world except Antarctica and Australia. ISI also conducts Educational Oversight inspections of private further education colleges and English language schools in England and Wales on behalf of the Home Office. These inspections provide reports on the quality of education in organisations holding a Tier 4 licence to sponsor international students under the Points Based System. The inspections are for the benefit of the students and seek to improve the quality and effectiveness of their education.


The service is run by a Board of Directors under an Independent Chair, Christine Swabey. Some board members are nominated by associations but not representatives of them, and there are three other independent directors including Mark Stephens.

Chief Inspector

The head of the service is known as the Chief Inspector. * 2005–2017: Christine Ryan * 2017–present: Kate Richards.

Nature of an ISI inspection

An ISI inspection is carried out by a senior teacher from another independent school. ISI have no powers to change the school's status or strategies. In 2016, a teacher with experience of ISI and Ofsted inspections wrote that "the usual panic and dread" in anticipation of Ofsted inspections was absent from an ISI inspection. The inspections take place at the request of the DfE, using the framework set down in 'The Education (Independent School Standards) Regulations 2014'. All reports are published. Inspections take many forms; as an example, a Regulatory Compliance inspection in 2017 contained these sections: # Quality of education provided # Spiritual, moral, social and cultural development of pupils # Welfare, health and safety of pupils # Suitability of staff, supply staff, and proprietors # Premises of and accommodation at schools # Provision of information # Manner in which complaints are handled # Quality of leadership in and management of schools. Where there is cause for concern the DfE may make an unannounced Additional Inspection, and a Monitoring Visit to report on previous findings.

Effects of the COVID-19 pandemic

Routine inspections were suspended from March 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, and replaced by a limited number of remote reviews. During the suspension, DfE retained the right to commission Material Change Visits, Additional Inspections and Progress Monitoring Visits.

See also

* List of independent schools in the United Kingdom Independent schools in other parts of the United Kingdom are inspected by the relevant national inspectorate: * Northern Ireland: Education and Training Inspectorate * Wales: Estyn * Scotland: Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education


External links

* {{Official website
Independent Schools Council

Educational Oversight
Category:Education in England Category:Private companies limited by guarantee of England