Updated plans for school inspections

Education Scotland has announced updated plans for school inspections due to start next year.

Taking the ongoing challenges settings and schools face dealing with COVID-19 and stakeholder views into account, HM Inspectors of Education will not resume the routine early learning and childcare and school inspection programme as originally planned.

From mid-February, if COVID-19 conditions allow, HM Inspectors will carry out ‘recovery’ visits to support the education sector as it continues to respond to the impact of the current pandemic. They will not report on specific quality indicators or give grades as part of the visit.

HM Chief Inspector of Education, Gayle Gorman said: “I am acutely aware of the pressures schools remain under currently, and have been engaging with school leaders and others and listening to the day to day experiences they are dealing with. It is with this understanding of the daily challenges that we make this announcement.

“After the February mid-term break, HM Inspectors will carry out ‘recovery visits’ to a selection of early learning and childcare settings and schools.

“During visits we will want to hear from educators about how they are addressing the impact of COVID-19. We want to learn about what is working well, as well as the ongoing challenges schools are dealing with. We will gather evidence of the range and quality of learning children are experiencing and the school’s approaches to safeguarding.

“We will continue to keep our plans under review to changing circumstances linked to the pandemic that staff and learners may face.”

Over recent months, HM Inspectors resumed activity in schools as they visited over 200 schools and services that were due to have a further inspection and as part of national thematic inspections.

Janie McManus, Strategic Director of Scrutiny, added: “There is no doubt the pandemic has brought many challenges to the education sector and we do not wish to add to the pressure those working in education are facing in supporting children and young people.

“Our planned recovery visits will provide an opportunity for us to explore the range and quality of learning children and young people are experiencing, and the work being done to meet children’s and young people’s learning needs and support their wellbeing during this challenging time.”