Possible impact of ISI inspections on Tier 4 sponsor licence
ISC has been notified of rumours that UKVI is suspending the licence of schools that fail an ISI inspection on any grounds and will only reinstate the licence at the next full inspection.
ISC contacted the Home Office for clarification and they have confirmed that UKVI does not automatically suspend independent schools’ sponsor licences as the result of an ISI inspection.
The Tier 4 Guidance for Sponsors sets out the following:
- One of the guiding principles of Tier 4 is that an education provider wishing to be a sponsor must demonstrate that all of its sites meet acceptable educational quality standards. An Educational Oversight body (for association schools, ISI) will make this assessment. Sponsors are required to maintain their Educational Oversight for all their sites throughout the duration of their Tier 4 licence.
- Where schools achieve the required rating in these inspections, they will in most cases meet the Tier 4 Educational Oversight requirement. Where an independent school fails to achieve the ‘required rating’ in a statutory education inspection, its CAS allocation will be set to zero until it achieves the required rating in a subsequent inspection. The subsequent inspection report must confirm that the school meets the relevant standards before UKVI will consider reinstating CAS. ISC has explained that the new inspection framework does not include ratings, but rather a finding of ‘compliant’ or ‘non-complaint’ under each Part of the ISSRs. The Home Office therefore intends on speaking with ISI and DfE in the New Year to understand the changes and how this may impact the current sponsor guidance. ISC is also seeking assurances that minor isolated compliance failings will not result in a sponsor’s CAS being reduced to zero.
The Home Office has assured ISC that they will be looking at this issue carefully to ensure there are no unintended consequences as a result of recent changes to the inspection regime for independent schools, and will engage with us on any changes to the guidance. If schools are concerned that these changes have resulted in any inappropriate sanctions being applied in specific cases, please contact ISC and we will endeavour to raise this with UKVI.
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