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 survey work and other tasks within their area of expertise.

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

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.

Watch our short film about what it’s like to be a PI.

Registered Inspector (RgI) and registered Nursery Inspector (RgNI)

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

We enter into a contract with the appointed Rgl/RgNI for each inspection job they are awarded.

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

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 are independent, self-employed inspectors who work as ‘Team Inspectors’ on inspections teams led by HMI or RgI. 

They are trained by us and contracted to carry out inspection work. 

Some may also be RgIs or retired HMIs who undertake inspection work on contract to Estyn. 

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.

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.


A school or provider being inspected may nominate 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.