The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) is the Government approved inspectorate responsible for the inspection of Association independent schools. Schools in the Associations are ranked among the best in the world and educate more than half a million children in 1,200 schools. We see inspections as a valuable experience, as they seek to improve the quality and effectiveness of schools’ education and care.
Inspections are carried out at short notice – usually only 1 day. The inspection teams are led by professional reporting inspectors with many years’ experience, who are supported by team inspectors such as heads and senior teachers currently working in independent schools.
This was the first of the Department for Education’s new-style inspections that were
introduced in September 2016 to inspect against three areas:
- The quality of pupils’ personal development
- The quality of pupils’ academic and other achievements
- Focussed compliance
Moreover, under this new framework schools are only given 24 hours’ notice of an inspection, which means that the inspection took place through a snapshot of the school as it normally is by a team of independent and highly experienced professionals without the luxury of having been able to pre-prepare.
Coopersale Hall received a positive set of reports, which contain numerous comments that support and acknowledge the many positive achievements Coopersale Hall has made in recent years as the school was judged to be ‘Excellent or ‘Good’ in all areas. With such rigorous criteria for inspections nowadays this is a far higher standard than the national trend.
Some of the quotes that are particularly worth noting from the ‘quality’ inspections are
- The quality of the pupils’ personal development is excellent.
- Pupils leave the school as confident young people with high aspirations for their
future, and they feel well prepared for the transition to their senior school.
- All pupils demonstrate an outstanding cultural understanding and strong respect
- Supported by the school’s strong sense of community, pupils have an excellent
awareness of those around them.
- Pupils have an outstanding sense of social responsibility.
- Pupils’ achievement in academic and other areas are good.
- Older pupils are consistently successful in gaining places at selective senior
- At all ages, pupils willingly engage with their learning and display positive
- Recent results are excellent, particularly the proportion of children exceeding
the expected levels of development in reading and writing.
- The pupils demonstrate high levels of concentration and apply themselves
readily to the tasks set.
- Excellent scientific skills were observed in the presentations provided by older
pupils as part of ‘science week’.
- Teaching assistants are used highly effectively to support individual pupils.
The Focussed Compliance Inspection scrutinises all aspects of the Department for Education’s legal requirements, including the incredibly complex laws relating to the employment of staff, the welfare and safety of pupils and the curriculum and supporting documentation. Although it is normally difficult to tick every box in this area, Coopersale Hall were fully compliant with the Education Regulations and no further action is required.