Routine education inspections to resume in new academic year

Scotland's education inspection programme will resume at the beginning of the new academic year.

Education Scotland paused its programme of routine inspections in March 2020 in response to COVID-19 and deployed its HM Inspectors to alternative duties to support education staff during the pandemic.

This support included working with more than 380 schools and education settings across a range of scrutiny activities during the current academic year.

Gayle Gorman, Chief Inspector of Education said: "The pandemic impacted on every aspect of our lives and this included how we provided scrutiny support to the education system.

"Over this past academic year, we have been carrying out recovery visits to learn from and work with education staff as they develop improvement plans in response to COVID-19. During these visits we have been overwhelmed by the dedication and resilience demonstrated by staff across Scotland as they work to support continuity of learning and the wellbeing of learners, staff and the school community. I would like to thank staff for the positive way they have engaged with HM Inspectors during this time.

"We now look forward to resuming our routine inspection programme from August 2022 but would like to emphasise that we are aware of the ongoing challenges faced by local authority staff, education staff, learners and communities resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic."

Education Scotland will continue to use established criteria to select the annual sample and there will also be an increased focus on the length of time since the last inspection, due to the impact of the pandemic.

Janie McManus, Strategic Director for Scrutiny at Education Scotland added: "As we resume inspection, we will continue to be responsive to the pressures and challenges that the education system is facing while continuing to give priority to the needs and experiences of children and young people. As part of our inspection activities, we will continue to spend time listening and learning from settings and schools about their own current priorities and ongoing challenges as they continue to respond to the impact of the pandemic."

Education Scotland will provide further advice on how HM Inspectors will take account of the current context, the challenges schools and settings face and the impact of the pandemic. 

Further detail will be issued to schools outlining plans and webinars will be available for practitioners to discuss the inspection process. The annual scrutiny plan for academic year 2022-2023 will be published on Education Scotland’s website in due course.