top of page

What is Ofsted or ISI and what do they do?

In this blog we will be providing private school advice on what Ofsted and ISI are and what they do. Let’s take a look at them both.

What is Ofsted and what does it do?

Ofsted is the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. It reports directly to Parliament and is both independent and impartial. By law it must inspect schools with the aim of providing information to parents, to promote improvement and to hold schools to account.

Their role is to make sure that organisations providing education, training and care services in England do so to a high standard for children and students.

Schools judged to be ‘satisfactory’ are inspected every three years. Those judged to be ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’ are inspected once in any five year period. The inspection lasts between one and two days and schools will receive only one or two days’ notice prior to the inspection.

What is the Independent Schools’ Inspectorate and what does it do?

The Independent Schools Inspectorate or ISI is a body approved for the purpose of inspection under the Education Act 2002. Its role is to report to the Department for Education on the extent to which schools meet statutory requirements.

ISI is responsible for the inspection of schools which are in membership of the Associations of the Independent Schools Council or ISC. The ISC Associations are as follows:

  • The Association of Governing Bodies in Independent Schools (AGBIS)

  • The Council of British International Schools (COBIS)

  • The Girls’ Schools Association (GSA)

  • The Headmasters’ and Headmistresses’ Conference (HMC)

  • The Independent Association of Preparatory Schools (IAPS)

  • The Independent Schools Association (ISA)

  • The Independent Schools Bursars Association (ISBA) and

  • The Society of Heads of Independent Schools (SHMIS).

ISI inspection is for the benefit of the pupils in the schools and seeks to improve the quality and effectiveness of their education and of the care for their welfare. Inspection also provides objective and reliable reports on the quality of schools and, by placing reports in the public domain. In this way, it helps schools, their staff and governors or proprietors to recognise and build on their strengths and to identify and remedy any weaknesses

Source of information – the ISI website. Further details can be found at

Our private school advice

If you are looking to send your child to school in the UK and would like more information on how the UK education system works or need some private school advice to find a place at a school or any stage of education, contact our consultants today by clicking here.

bottom of page