Changes to the ISI inspection framework for independent schools with early years settings (EYFS)

The Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) revised its Inspection Framework in September 2019, in line with the updated Ofsted Education Inspection Framework 2019. Although the framework is largely the same as the 2019 Framework, there are changes to the Inspections of Education Quality (Section C) and registered early years foundation stage settings (Section D).

  • What has changed:Inspections of registered Early Years Foundation Stage settings focus on evaluating the quality of education and reflect the requirements of the Ofsted Education Inspection Framework 2019 and associated guidance.
  • When considering the overall effectiveness of provision, inspectors will focus on the quality and standards of the early years’ provision and consider “what it is like to be a child in the provision”. Inspectors will assess the extent to which leaders and providers plan, design and implement the EYFS curriculum and the extent to which the curriculum and care practices of the setting meets the needs of a range of children (including those with SEND). Other minor changes have been made to the wording of this section, with the effect of making the focus more on the curriculum and ensuring continuous development that improves children’s education (rather than improves children’s life chances).
  • Evaluation of the quality of education will be assessed by applying the principles of intent, implementation and impact i.e. by reviewing the curriculum and its delivery and the impact on a children’s attainment.
  • The revised framework introduces the concept of ‘cultural capital’: the essential knowledge that children need to prepare them for their future success. Inspectors will therefore consider how well leaders use the curriculum to enhance the experience and opportunities for children, particularly the disadvantaged.
  • Inspectors will assess children’s personal development and their behaviour and attitudes by reviewing the curriculum and the effectiveness of care practices and learning. Inspectors will also explore how well providers work with parents to promote children’s attendance.
  • The effectiveness of leadership and management, including the effectiveness of governance vision and strategy to hold senior leadership to account for the quality of care and education.  

The revised framework means the focus has moved from the effectiveness of individual staff members to the overall quality of education provided to children in the setting.

The law and practice referred to in this article has been paraphrased or summarised. It might not be up-to-date with changes in the law and we do not guarantee the accuracy of any information provided at the time of reading. It should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice in relation to a specific set of circumstances.

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