To be recognised by the UK Department for Education (DfE), a British school overseas (BSO) must have an inspection report which shows that their performance against all the BSO standards is at least satisfactory. This reflects the standards required for continuing registration as a school in England. Following a successful BSO inspection, schools will be allocated a unique reference number on the UK's national school reference system, Edubase.
Following a successful inspection by one of the DfE approved inspectorates listed above, COBIS is able to confer formal recognition on its Accredited Member and Member schools worldwide.
Heads and senior leaders in COBIS schools are also eligible to train as ISI inspectors and to participate in inspections of both British International schools and schools in the UK. Inspection teams for COBIS schools have an independent lead or reporting inspector and include team members who are practitioners in international schools as well as those from the UK.
Under the DfE approved BSO inspection framework, voluntary inspections of BSO take place every three years. Any inspections of COBIS schools undertaken since January 2011 have taken place under the BSO arrangements. Schools which were inspected by the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) before this date, under the previous six-year cycle, can opt to change immediately to the BSO arrangements or to complete their six-year cycle and then change.
In all cases these schools will retain their COBIS Accredited Member status. ISI reports from 2008-2011 are also published on the DfE website but carry only a 3-year validity.
COBIS supports schools worldwide to work towards and prepare for BSO inspections. The COBIS Consultancy service offers bespoke pre-BSO inspection 'critical friend' school visits. Access COBIS pre-BSO inspection 'critical friend' school visits via the COBIS Consultancy service