Teacher and pupils

Happy new academic year to all our schools and colleges: We send warmest congratulations to students in the schools we inspect on their achievements in the GCSE and A level examinations this summer. Every student’s success story is one of hard work, and behind them stands the hard work of their teachers, school leaders and trustees who have contributed to the success. SIS also sends best wishes and congratulations to them.

Safeguarding: SIS takes safeguarding extremely seriously both in its own organisation and in its work in the schools it inspects. All SIS inspectors have been checked for their suitability to work with young people. SIS arranged full update and refresher training in safeguarding at the start of September for all its inspectors. This was delivered by the NSPCC.

Keeping Children Safe in Education (KCSIE) 2018, which was released in May 2018, came into force on 3 September 2018. This guidance from the Department for Education (DfE) contains important changes which strengthen further the arrangements schools must have in place to fulfil the important duty to assure children’s safety and well-being. KCSIE 2018 complements other government guidance documents such as Working Together to Safeguard Children (WTTSC) which was also updated this year and Sexual Violence and Sexual Harassment in Schools and Colleges (SVSHSC). These documents may be found in the schools’ section of the SIS website under ‘useful references’. Schools must take account of this new guidance and update their safeguarding policies, procedures and staff training accordingly from the start of this term.

New inspection cycle: The DfE has commissioned another three year cycle of inspections for all independent schools in England. Apart from amending documents to take account of any legislative and guidance updates, the SIS Handbook for Inspecting Independent Schools remains largely unchanged. The inspection framework and grade descriptors are familiar to schools and have been praised by school leaders for their rigour and clarity. SIS believes in working in partnership with the schools we inspect so that our documents and inspection reports may be used as a tool for improvement. All documents for schools and inspectors have been recently updated for 2018/19 and carry the footer ‘for use from September 2018’. Schools should note that they can gain access to the SIS website by using their unique password. The documentation and guidance there is intended to be helpful for school improvement. If you have lost your password please contact us.

Inspectors’ training:  SIS would like to thank Cambridge Steiner School and the staff and students of Focus School Long Eaton Campus for their splendid assistance with the recent inspectors’ conference which focused on developing inspectors’ knowledge of and techniques for inspecting in Steiner and Focus schools.

British Schools Overseas (BSO): At the start of September the SIS Chief Inspector attended a meeting of the International Task Force on Child Protection in The Netherlands. This was an excellent opportunity to meet experts in child protection; lawyers; police officers and representatives from Interpol and ACRO; and staff from international schools and associations around the world. The meeting provided many opportunities for discussion, and the Chief Inspector was able to share some of the best safeguarding practice seen by SIS inspectors. British schools overseas (BSO) should note that schools based outside England and Wales no longer have access through the DBS service to enhanced checks on the British staff they wish to recruit. The conference included a presentation by officers from ACRO about the International Child Protection Certificate (ICPC) which British staff may apply for when seeking posts in schools overseas.

Independent FE Colleges: This term SIS will be completing the interim inspections for 2018 and contacting colleges throughout the autumn term to announce the inspectors’ arrival. The autumn conference for colleges will take place on Monday 26th November 2018 at the Royal St. Katherine’s Foundation, 2 Butcher Row, London, E14 8DS. Please contact us to reserve a place.