The School Inspection Service (SIS) is an independent body established to carry out inspections of independent school in England under Section 109(1) and (2) of the Education and Skills Act 2008. Our school inspection framework is found on this website and has been agreed with the Department for Education (DfE). SIS has also been approved to inspect British Schools Overseas (BSO) according to the framework for inspection agreed with the DfE.
The aims and function of SIS are to provide high-quality inspection of specific groups of independent schools, on behalf of the Department for Education (DfE), and to prepare reports and be responsible for the publication of those reports. In this sense, SIS fulfils the same function that Ofsted performs elsewhere.
SIS is committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of children, young people and adults. SIS only deploys inspectors who have been carefully checked and vetted using safer recruitment practice and who are trained to a high level and have up to date knowledge of safeguarding practice. SIS also alerts the associations of schools we inspect to updates and developments in safeguarding guidance and to changes in our inspection practice.
SIS is a strictly non-profit making company. It is limited by guarantee and registered at Companies House. There are no shareholders and no dividends are paid. SIS is overseen by a board of directors, whose function is to provide guidance to the inspectorate and hold its officers to account. The board consists of eight people with varied experience in business, finance, management and education, some of whom are also inspectors. No members of the board have any financial or other interest in any of the schools or school groups which SIS inspects, nor do they have any personal or business relationships that could impair the objectivity of an inspection or the integrity of the inspectorate’s work.
SIS was approved by the Secretary of State in 2006. It is led by a Chief Inspector, who is approved by the Secretary of State and who was, for many years, Ofsted’s Principal Officer for Independent, Boarding and British schools overseas. The vast majority of SIS inspectors are former HMIs (Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Schools) who have extensive experience of inspecting schools and colleges, and all of whom are approved by the DfE. The team as a whole encompasses the expertise of inspectors with specialist knowledge in special needs, Early Years, primary, secondary and post 16 education, safeguarding, school improvement, leadership and management, schools overseas, and other specific areas. The work of SIS in schools is monitored by Ofsted, on behalf of the DfE, and a report by Her Majesty’s Chief Inspector (HMCI) on its performance is published annually.
SIS is also an approved educational oversight body authorised by the UKVI section of the Home Office to inspect privately funded further education colleges in England, with a Steiner, Montessori or Eurythmy basis or background, or with a clear religious purpose.
SIS retains the services of an independent Complaints Adjudicator of considerable experience. This person exists to determine any complaints raised by aggrieved parents, teachers, or other involved personnel, when the earlier elements of the complaints procedure have been exhausted. The Complaints Adjudicator is not related or connected in any way with SIS or its staff and stands alone to provide a totally independent, unbiased, and non-prejudicial judgement.
The School Inspection Service
The Clock Tower
5 Farleigh Court
Old Weston Road
Company Limited by Guarantee
Registered in England and Wales No. 6981169