‘A Practical Guide to the Independent School Standards’ by Sarah McKimm


Paperback: 978-1-914608-01-8
Published: January 2022
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While the state has extensive powers and duties in relation to state-funded education, independent schools largely sit outside that regime on condition that they meet prescribed standards. ‘A Practical Guide to the Independent School Standards’ introduces the standards from a rights-based perspective and explains their role in connection with registration and inspection of independent schools. Busy practitioners are signposted to the key guidance and regulations incorporated into the deceptively short standards. The parts of education law which do and do not apply to the independent sector are clearly identified.

After outlining the standards and linking to relevant legislation and recent case law which help with interpretation, this book shows how the standards can be applied to common issues affecting pupils such as SEND, mental health, peer-on-peer abuse, admissions and exclusions.

The closing chapters consider the role of the standards when things go wrong whether it is a parent wishing to complain about a school, a school questioning the findings of a compliance inspection and/or responding to action by the regulator.

Intended primarily for education lawyers, ‘A Practical Guide to the Independent School Standards’ will also be an invaluable accessible resource for independent schools and parents.


Sarah McKimm is a solicitor who, after a first career in commercial litigation, has been specialising in education law for the last 20 years. In 2008 she became Principal Solicitor and later Deputy General Secretary for the Independent Schools Council. She was also until recently Head of Legal & Policy at the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI).


List of Terms and Abbreviations


Chapter One – State and Independent Education – How They Differ and Why
Chapter Two – Registration Requirements for Independent Schools
Chapter Three – Overview of The Independent School Standards
Chapter Four – Key Provisions of The Equality Act 2010
Chapter Five – Regulated Activity


Chapter Six – The Quality of Education Standards
Chapter Seven – The Curriculum Standard – ISS Part 1
Chapter Eight – Relationships, Education and Relationships and Sex Education (RSE)
Chapter Nine – The Teaching Standard
Chapter Ten – The SMSC Standard (Social, Moral, Spiritual and Cultural Development of Pupils) – ISS Part 2
Chapter Eleven – The Safeguarding Standard – ISS Part 3
Chapter Twelve – Other Welfare, Health and Safety Standards – ISS Part 3 Continued
Chapter Thirteen – The Suitability Standards – ISS Part 4
Chapter Fourteen – The Premises and Accommodation Standard – ISS Part 5
Chapter Fifteen – The Provision of Information Standard – ISS Part 6
Chapter Sixteen – The Complaints-Handling Standard – ISS Part 7
Chapter Seventeen – The Leadership and Management Standard – ISS Part 8


Chapter Eighteen – What the Standards Say About Pastoral Care
Chapter Nineteen – What the Standards Say About Peer-on-Peer Sexual Abuse
Chapter Twenty – What the Standards Say About Special Educational Needs and Disabilities (SEND)
Chapter Twenty-One – What the Standards Say About Mental Health Issues
Chapter Twenty-Two – What the Standards Say About Admissions and Exclusions
Chapter Twenty-Three – When Things Go Wrong
Chapter Twenty-Four – In Conclusion – Future Developments