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The Code of Conduct relates to the inspection process and is also included in the Inspection Framework, ‘Successful Schools and Achieving Students 2'.

Inspectors must not only arrive at fair and accurate judgments about schools, but they must also do so in the right way.

Any assessment of professional competence can cause anxiety, and inspection is no exception to this. Inspectors will treat all the people they encounter as part of the inspection process with interest, courtesy, and respect. The right of entry into schools is a privilege.

Inspectors will uphold the highest professional standards in their work. They will ensure that all members of staff are treated fairly and that schools benefit from the experience of inspection. The process will be transparent and carried out openly, with the outcomes clearly communicated to all parties.

School Inspectors are expected to:

  • Be punctual for all appointments throughout the inspection
  • Make their evaluations objectively, be impartial, and have no connection with the school that could undermine their objectivity
  • Present an accurate, honest, fair, and reliable report of what the school does
  • Carry out all work with integrity, treating all those they meet with courtesy and sensitivity
  • Do all that they can to allay worry or anxiety throughout the inspection process;
  • Act with the best interests and well-being of students, teachers, and school staff in mind
  • Maintain purposeful and productive relationships and dialogue with those being evaluated
  • Communicate outcomes clearly and respect the confidentiality of information.
  • Complete core inspection deliverables within the stipulated timelines and to the required level of quality.

Effective inspections are those that schools regard as fair, rigorous, and helpful. If school administrators and staff respect and value the quality of inspections they will be more likely to accept and make use of the findings to help them improve.

Dress code

All inspectors must see themselves as ambassadors representing OES’s professionalism and desire to show respect for the local community. Women’s attire for work should be conservative.

Men’s attire at work should include smart suit trousers, business shirts (short- or long-sleeved when the weather permits) with a tie. Jackets should be worn when the weather permits, and although they do not have to be worn throughout the day, they should be available in school should an occasion arise where more formality is required.

Expectations of providers

Our expectations apply to all education institutions. In order to establish and maintain a positive working relationship, we expect providers to:

  • be courteous and professional, treating inspectors with respect and sensitivity
  • enable inspectors to carry out their visit in an open and honest way
  • enable inspectors to evaluate the provider objectively against the frameworks, standards or regulatory requirements
  • provide evidence – or access to evidence – that will enable the inspector to report honestly, fairly and reliably about their provision; this includes the opportunity for inspectors to meet with learners or children and young people
  • work with inspectors to minimise disruption, stress and bureaucracy
  • ensure the good health and safety of inspectors while on their premises
  • maintain purposeful and productive communication with the inspector or the inspection team
  • bring any concerns about the inspection to the attention of inspectors promptly and in a suitable manner
  • recognise that sometimes inspectors will need to observe practice and talk to staff and users without the presence of a manager or registered person

Issues Arising

Any concerns regarding the conduct of inspectors should be directed to the Lead Inspector in the first instance.

If the issue is judged to be minor, then the Lead Inspector will speak to the relevant inspector to find an immediate resolution. In more serious cases, whether the concern is raised by the school or another member of the inspection team, the matter should be escalated to the Director of OES for consideration and action.

Concerns regarding the conduct of the Lead Inspector should be directed to any permanent member of the OES team as soon as possible.