Inspector roles

Her Majesty’s Inspectors of Education and Training (HMI)

HMI are permanent members of staff. They lead and carry out inspection work providing independent and objective judgements on the provision of education and training.

They also undertake remit work and other tasks within their area of expertise.

Watch our short film about what it’s like to be an HMI.

Registered Inspector (RgI)

They act as Lead Inspectors on school / pre-school inspections, effectively carrying out the same role as an HMI.

We tender for inspection work and enter into a contract with the appointed Rgl for each inspection job they are awarded.

We recruit, train and maintain a list of ‘approved’ RgIs.

The role of ‘Registered Inspector’ is set out in legislation for the inspection of schools and pre-school settings.

Additional Inspector (AI): Team Inspector

They work as ‘Team Inspectors’ on independent inspection teams led by a Registered Inspector or HMI.

We recruit, train and maintain a list of approved Team Inspectors who are employed by us for specific inspection work they are awarded. 

Lay Inspector

They are members of the general public who are trained by us to take part in a school inspection. They provide an objective and impartial assessment on the provision of education.

Legally, they can’t have been employed in the management of a school or the provision of education within a school but they can have acted in a voluntary capacity or as a governor.

We contract with these individuals from the approved list for inspection work.

Additional Inspector: (short-term contract basis)

They are independent, self-employed inspectors who are trained by us and are contracted to carry out inspection work for a limited amount of time (usually one or two weeks at a time).

These inspectors tender for the work, are not paid a fixed rate and do not receive ‘expenses’ from us.

Usually, they are contracted by us to carry out a specific aspect of work on an inspection.

Additional Inspector: Secondee

They are individuals who are seconded by an employer (e.g. school or local authority) to work full-time as an inspector for a fixed period of time, normally up to two years.

They carry out the same inspection work as an HMI and undertake remit work and other tasks, within their area of expertise.

Secondees are paid by us but are still employed by their original employer.

Additional Inspector: Peer Inspector (PI)

They are individuals who have a managerial role in a school or provider and have teaching or training experience in the relevant sector.

We recruit and train Peer Inspectors. They are full members of an inspection team and contribute to the inspection work in all key questions. They also write sections within inspection reports allocated to them by the Rgls.

A school PI might join an inspection two or three times a year, for periods of three or four days at a time.


A school or provider being inspected nominates a member of staff to act as nominee. They are not a full member of an inspection team and do not ‘inspect’ or take part in evaluating the provision.

They do attend all inspection meetings and liaise between the inspection team and school or provider ensuring that the team has full access to all the sources of evidence it needs.