We are aware of a recent increase in the number of independent schools failing ISI inspections, with a growing trend of failures being due to schools introducing policies in the absence of the applicable issues having been risk assessed. It is therefore welcome news that the Department for Education has updated its guidance on action plans for independent schools. This updated guidance is non-statutory, meaning that it is not legally binding, but it is a helpful source of support for schools that find themselves needing to produce an action plan.
Read the full Independent School Action Plan Guidance.
What are action plans for independent schools?
Where an independent school is found to be failing the Independent School Standards (ISS) or the Early Years Foundation Stage Statuary Framework (EYFS), the school can be required to submit an action plan, setting out the steps that will be taken to remedy failed standards and the timeframe for taking those steps.
Whilst schools would of course prefer not to find themselves in the position of having to complete an action plan, the updated guidance will be very useful for any independent schools that are navigating this process and is invaluable reading for any school in this position. The guidance also contains a template action plan that a school may wish to use as the starting point for their action plan, and a plan that is structured in accordance with this template will meet the statutory requirements for a valid action plan.
The ISI Inspection Framework
The publication of the updated guidance comes ahead of the new ISI Inspection Framework coming into effect on 1 September 2023. All schools should take the time to ensure they are fully familiar with the new Framework and its requirements. Compliance with the Framework is the best way to avoid having to produce an action plan!
Getting additional support
The updated guidance on action plans emphasises the benefit to schools of seeking additional support, including external support, to develop their action plans for independent schools. The guidance suggests that this could be in the form of support from staff from other schools within a group with a shared proprietor, peers from other unconnected schools, independent consultants or relevant member organisations.
How Moore Barlow can help
Our independent schools team have the expertise and experience to support independent schools of all sizes and profiles including groups of schools, on a wide range of issues. Get in touch.