What is involved in an ISI Inspection ?

There are many changes to the inspection framework from September 2023. The most significant is that ISI will NOT give an overall judgement, and have therefore abolished the four gradings: formerly excellent – good – sound – unsatisfactory. Instead, they will focus on ‘nuanced reporting‘ within the report itself.

There will only be ONE type of routine inspection now, every 3 years, that will combine compliance and educational quality. 

Here are the facts about the requirements of the ISI Inspection.  JMC have delivered these messages in training all over the country for the past year. Hopefully this ISI myth buster will help avoid unnecessary workload in your school.

ISI Myth #1. You must show them your Lesson planning

ISI does not require schools to provide individual lesson plans to Inspectors. Equally, ISI does not require schools to provide previous lesson plans.
ISI does not specify how planning should be set out, the length of time it should take or the amount of detail it should contain. Inspectors are interested in the effectiveness of planning rather than the form it takes.

ISI Myth #2. ISI will grade your lesson

ISI does not award a grade for the quality of teaching for any individual lessons visited and it does not grade individual lessons. It does not expect schools to use the ISI evaluation schedule to grade teaching or individual lessons.

ISI myth #3. ISI expect your SLT to observe a certain number of lessons in preparation for inspection

ISI does not require schools to undertake a specified amount of lesson observation. It’s completely up to your SLT what method they use to improve the quality of teaching.
ISI does not expect schools to provide specific details of the pay grade of individual teachers who are observed during inspection.

ISI Myth #4. ISI Prefer a certain style of teaching

ISI just wants to know that your teaching style impacts the progress of the students. There’s not a one teaching style fits all.

There is however strong evidence that certain practices improve pupil outcomes more than others, such as the use of Feedback, Active learning, metacognition, collaborative learning and peer tuition.

Why not arrange an INSET for your staff on some of the most effective practices for improving pupil outcomes?

Find out more about training on active learning, metacognition and using feedback

ISI myth #5. You must mark your pupils’ work every lesson and provide written feedback

ISI does not expect to see a particular frequency or quantity of work in pupils’ books or folders. Ofsted recognises that the amount of work in books will often depend on the age and ability of the pupils.
ISI does not expect to see unnecessary or extensive written dialogue between teachers and pupils in exercise books and folders. ISI recognises the importance of different forms of feedback and inspectors will look at how these are used to promote learning.

ISI myth #6 You must rearrange your timetable or trips & visits to suit ISI

You do not need to

  • reorganise your curriculum
  • reorganise your timetable
  • change lessons or cancel activities
  • change or cancel off-site visits / trips
  • cancel visitors who were due to come into the school

How should we prepare for an ISI Inspection ?

Is your school due an ISI Inspection in 2024?

JMC provide comprehensive mock inspections, each of our teams are led by an experienced Reporting Inspector. 

Find out more here

JMC Inspection Team


020 8531 4182

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