Have you ever wondered how the regulation of independent schools works or who inspects them? Despite being outside the state system, all private schools are still accountable, facing regular inspections.
Private schools can be inspected by one of three bodies. Most independent schools such as Aldwickbury, that are charitable trusts, are inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) or the Schools Inspection Service, whilst some private schools may be inspected by OFSTED, the body that also carries out inspections in state schools.
The inspection body who inspects the school is determined by the type of school and the age group.
Read on to find out more about how private schools are governed and inspected, and for an introduction to our own Board of Governors here at Aldwickbury.
Legal requirements for independent schools
Although independent, fee-paying schools are not required to follow the National Curriculum, they must still be registered with the Department for Education (in England), undergo regular inspections and meet minimum standards of education, student welfare and governance, among other things.
Teaching staff must meet the same requirements and pass the same background checks as in state schools, as laid out by the Department for Education’s Teaching Regulation Agency. These requirements are based around the ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ statutory guidance, ensuring safe recruitment and safeguarding throughout the recruitment process and day-to-day running of the school.
Private schools that don’t meet the required standards are issued with an action plan and ordered to improve; if they fail to improve they are threatened with closure and removal from the register.
At Aldwickbury School, regular inspections are carried out by the Independent Schools Inspectorate. Our last inspection was in October 2017 which examined all aspects of our Regulatory Compliance. The inspection lasted three days and judged that we were fully compliant. The previous inspection took place in October 2013, which was a full inspection looking at the quality of the education provision as well as the regulations. Our school was rated as ‘excellent’ in most areas and ‘good’ in two. Inspectors were impressed by many aspects of the school, including our early years provision, extra-curricular activities and excellent leadership.
The inspectorate looks to ensure that independent schools meet the minimum requirements, but most schools will look to go above and beyond this level of compliance.
Aldwickbury is a member of various organisations including:
- The Independent Association of Prep Schools
- The Boarding Schools Association
- The Association of Governing Bodies in Independent Schools
In order to maintain this membership we have to fulfil various requirements, which help to guarantee the high quality demanded by parents.
Aldwickbury School’s management team
Many private schools in the UK are governed by an elected board. At Aldwickbury, we are fortunate to benefit from a skilled and dedicated Board of Governors, who work with our Senior Senior Management Team to ensure the smooth running of the school. With professional expertise in areas including law, finance, business strategy and education, a number of board members are also parents of former Aldwickbury pupils, so they bring real interest and investment to the school. Together with our Headmaster, Mr Hales, and his leadership team, they help to keep Aldwickbury the happy and successful school it has always been.
We are proud of the high standards that we achieve here at Aldwickbury, both in and out of the classroom. Take a look at our Inspection Reports and find out about our School Policies, to see how our high standards translate into an excellent school with pupils who are engaged and happy.