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: Schools please note that 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 are on our schools’ 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.

The DfE has commissioned another three year cycle of inspections for all independent schools in England. Apart from amending our 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 they can use our documents and inspection reports as a tool for improvement. All documents for schools and inspectors have been recently updated for the coming academic year. They carry the footer ‘for use from September 2018’. A reminder to schools that by using your password for the SIS site you will gain access to SIS documentation, including the inspectors’ guidance, which may be helpful to you in preparing for inspection. If you have lost or forgotten your password please contact us.

Inspectors’ training: our inspectors have recently completed a two day training course which included developing our knowledge of and techniques for inspecting in Steiner and Focus schools. We would like to thank Cambridge Steiner School and the staff and students of Focus School Long Eaton Campus for their splendid assistance.

British Schools Overseas (BSO): At the start of September SIS Chief Inspector, Jane Cooper, 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.

Colleges: This term we will be completing the interim inspections for 2018 and inspectors will be contacting colleges throughout the autumn term to announce their arrival. Depending on demand, we hope to arrange another conference for colleges later in the autumn term. Please look out for details.