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Be ready for new ISI inspection August 9, 2010

Posted by Alex, Managing Director in Independent Education.
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The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) have kindly provided us with news of their new system – and some tips to ensure that your school is as prepared as possible.

Thanks to Julie Booth, Head of Independent Schools at Capita Children’s Services, for kindly writing the below for us…

Under the new Independent Schools Inspectorate Framework, schools will now be inspected every three years, rather than the previous six year cycle. Additionally, Standard and Interim inspections will now be alternated, depending on the results of a school’s previous inspection.

The notice period given prior to an inspection has been reduced from 17 weeks to just five working days but there are a number of things you can do to ensure your school is ready when the inspectors call.

Be well informed

Don’t make assumptions about what documents need to be made available to inspectors as this will only create unnecessary stress on the day. The ISI produces a guidance booklet that contains a complete list of the documentation that needs to be provided before, during and after an inspection. This will give you all the information you need.

Provide up-to-date information

You need to ensure the information you provide to inspectors is current so preparation is essential. Many schools regularly record details such as their students’ academic attainment or extra curricular achievements on a management information system (MIS). The advantage of this is that it allows them to produce current and detailed reports on how their students are progressing in school at the touch of a button. The more data you store, the more you can provide as evidence of the success of your school’s education strategies, which is key to a successful inspection.

Make the most of your system

An MIS can provide powerful tools for tracking pupil progress but many systems also help with good record-keeping so make sure you are getting full benefit from your investment. You may be able to set up standard alerts that will remind you to review school policies, update staff CRB records and ensure that visas for any overseas students are current, for example. By keeping on top of these routine tasks throughout the school year, you’ll be one step ahead when notice of your inspection arrives.

Keep staff training up to date

The ISI offers a range of training and advice on preparing for an inspection. Your MIS provider may also run courses on getting the maximum amount of information out of your system with the minimum of effort. Plan ahead to make sure your staff understand what the information requirements are for their area of responsibility and build all their training needs in to your usual development planning cycle .

Julie Booth, head of independent schools at Capita Children’s Services
www.sims-independent.co.uk

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