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School or education inspectors are employed by the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (OFSTED), the non-ministerial government organisation which inspects schools, further education institutes and local educational authorities (LEAs) to ensure that all education standards outlined by the government are met and adhered to.
Her Majesty’s Inspectors (HMIs) work directly for OFSTED and will typically manage Additional Inspectors (AIs) who work for Regional Inspection Service Providers (RISPs) and are trained to OFSTED specification.
Their primary aim is to recognise and draw attention to areas within the education system in which improvements can be made with a view to raise the standards of schooling and childcare across the UK.
Inspectors monitor all aspects associated with the running of educational institutions, including supervising various classes to judge standards of teaching, and assessing work submitted by pupils at all levels to ensure that syllabi follow National Curriculum policy. They will sometimes conduct and record interviews with senior and junior members of staff and pupils to glean further information about an institution.
They may even talk to parents of pupils and young children to measure more impartially the level and quality of schooling that children are receiving.
Before carrying out an inspection, they plan objectives and will need to follow a code of conduct set up by OFSTED. This will involve familiarising themselves with staff and pupils and making sure that all involved understand the reasons for (and objectives of) the inspection.
On completion of their inspection, inspectors will be required to write detailed reports on their findings, including all positive and negative features. They will need to give individual feedback to teachers and other members of staff who have undergone inspection to highlight areas which are outstanding, satisfactory or substandard.
Additionally, inspectors will carry out checks in areas such as health and safety, equal opportunities, management of school funds and special education needs facilities.
Depending on the size of the institution which is under inspection, inspectors will usually work in teams of between two and ten, each concentrating on a designated area.