Every six years an Independent School is inspected. For three days it opens its doors and welcomes Heads, Deputy Heads and Senior Teachers of other private schools to share good practice and to ensure the regulations laid down by the Government are being followed.
Inspections are invaluable for schools. They encourage rigour, discipline and ensure schools do no become complacent. But I think the true value of the ISI inspection is that in opening up your doors to colleagues from other schools excellent practice can be recognised, acknowledged and shared. The role of the inspector is to look for the best and make recommendations on how to make a good school even better. Inspectors shine a light on all areas and schools are better because of this.
Last week I was delighted to be invited to be part of an inspection team. I learnt much. I saw lessons, assemblies, looked at exercise books, school policies and spoke to pupils, staff and parents. It was a very full but enjoyable three days. I saw some excellent practice, some super lessons and many good ideas in action.
When you witness good practice I believe you should reflect upon how your own school compares and whether there is something you can learn from this to make your own school even better. For me no school is perfect as ultimately education should be about continual improvement and we should all be looking at ways and adopting ideas that allow this to happen. It reminds me of Dewey, an educational psychologist who said “If we teach today as we were taught yesterday we rob our students of tomorrow.” Certainly at the school I observed there were areas where we could improve our own practice by considering their approach, but equally there were many innovative things that we are doing that their school could learn from. It made me feel very proud of BGS.
Three days is a long time for a senior member of staff to be away from their own school but the experience you gain makes it so worthwhile. It is because of this that we actively encourage our senior staff to be trained as inspectors and when offered the opportunity to inspect to take it. I firmly believe BGS will always be a richer place because of it.