Boarding ISI Inspection Report

King’s was visited in February 2016, for an Intermediate Boarding Welfare Inspection, by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI). The inspection took place over two and a half days and focused primarily on assessing our compliance with the National Minimum Standards (NMS) for Boarding Schools.

During the inspection period, the inspectors conducted formal interviews with boarders, held discussions with senior members of staff and with the Deputy Chair of Governors, observed some of the extra-curricular activities on offer to boarders and attended registration sessions during the school day. They also visited both School House and St Margaret’s to eat with the pupils, inspect our facilities for sick or injured pupils and analysed the responses of boarders and their parents to questionnaires covering a range of boarding-related issues completed prior to the inspection.

We are pleased to be able to tell you that the vast majority of the findings of the ISI inspectors were positive.

They reported that:

  • “Boarders speak positively about the school’s induction programme which supports their integration into the boarding houses and school.”
  • “They (the boarders) identify several members of staff to whom they would willingly go
  • for help or advice in dealing with any personal difficulty.”
  • “The school has effective policies, subject to regular review, to promote the physical and mental health and emotional well-being of boarders.”
  • “....from the menus seen and sampled, inspectors found that the food is nutritious and appropriate in choice and quantity.”
  • “ discussions, boarders spoke appreciatively of the opportunities available (for free time and activities)”
  • “Houses and the school have extensive grounds that provide safe areas for recreation or for boarders to be alone.”
  • “ ..........boarders feel safe in their boarding houses.”
  • “Boarders are appreciative of the international nature of their community and report that they do not experience discrimination.....”
  • “Boarding staff respond readily to parents’ concerns and ..... resolve them at an early stage.”

In addition to the physical checks and interviews, the inspection also deals with the school’s documentation and record-keeping to assess compliance in various areas of boarding legislation. Whilst all our staff undergo Disclosure and Barring (DBS) and other vetting checks before they are able to enter employment with us, this process was recently extended to require that pre-employment vetting should also include checks against lists of those Prohibited from Teaching and Prohibited from Management. During this part of the visit, the inspectors established that the school had omitted to carry out this additional procedure. Immediately this omission was identified by the inspectors, retrospective checks were carried out and were in place, with no negative findings, before the end of the inspection. Unfortunately, however, the omission at the time of the inspection means that the published report is obliged to state that the school did not meet all the ISI National Minimum Standards for Boarding and highlights this in the Summary at the beginning of the report, stipulating that such checks are made henceforth and that the School’s Governing body should monitor that this continues to happen in future. It has since emerged that many other schools were also unaware of this new requirement and, while this is clearly something we regret, we would not want this to cause unnecessary alarm regarding the safety of the pupils. We have now taken measures to ensure that no such omission can happen in the future.

We are delighted to say that the report is entirely positive on a practical level about the pupils’ experience of boarding at King’s. The safety, security, well-being and happiness of all pupils at King’s is, and will continue to be, at the heart of everything we do and it was heart-warming to hear that the boarders themselves, consider King’s a great place to live and work.