Our inspections of the Gaelic sector aim to support improvements in standards, quality and achievements of all learners in Scottish education through first-hand, independent evaluation. Please see the Arrangements for inspecting Gaelic Education page for more details.
HM Inspectors of Education’s core purposes are to:
- provide assurance and public accountability to stakeholders about the quality of education locally, nationally and at individual establishment/service level
- promote improvement and building capacity through identifying and sharing effective practice
- inform the development of educational policy and practice by providing independent, professional evaluations from observing practice at first hand.
HM Inspectors' individual establishment and services reports may be found here: Inspection reports.
The HM Chief Inspection Reports give an analysis of our scrutiny findings, and include thematic inspections and national reporting. Here are some examples of reports that evaluate Gaelic:
- School Inspection Findings 2018-19
- Local approaches to recovery: a thematic review
- Evaluation of Foundation Apprenticeships - March 2022
- Responsive, supportive and resilient communities - September 2022
- Approaches to recording and monitoring incidents of bullying in schools
Promoting improvement and building capacity through identifying and sharing effective practice
The Advice on Gaelic Education describes best practice for evaluating and planning for improvement in Gaelic Education. It is based on evidence from inspections and reviews. It incorporates key legislation and policy.
The Advice on Gaelic Education and Statutory Guidance should be used with the suite of quality frameworks How good is our ..? to contextualise these to the Gaelic sector.
HM Inspectors' slides from events on a range of themes are also available on the Advice on Gaelic Education page.
Sharing effective practice from scrutiny
The National Improvement Hub has self-evaluation and improvement frameworks and exemplars of effective practice. Here are some examples:
- Sharing scrutiny evidence on Gaelic Medium Education – early learning and childcare total immersion
- Sharing inspection evidence: leadership and primary Gaelic Medium and Learner Education
- Sharing scrutiny evidence on Gaelic Medium Education - secondary curriculum
- Sketchnotes - Sharing highly effective practice and inspection highlights
Informing the development of educational policy
HM Inspectors produce a statutory Gaelic Language Plan to describe what we will do to support achieving equity and excellence for Gaelic. An executive summary of our plan is below, with the full plan available on the Education Scotland website.
- HM Inspectors' executive summary of the plan: PDF file: Gaelic Language Plan Summary (740 KB)
- HM Inspectors provide evaluative comment on plans for Gaelic:
Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010
A council must consult parents, children, young people and the wider community when it proposes a change to its school estate. This includes changes such as proposals to close schools, changes to a school’s catchment area and setting up of catchment areas for Gaelic Medium Education. Bòrd na Gàidhlig must be consulted on proposals for Gaelic Medium Education. More detail can be read in the Statutory Guidance on Gaelic Education, 2017.
The Schools (Consultation) (Scotland) Act 2010 sets out the formal process that councils must follow. HM Inspectors of Education have a statutory duty to produce an independent and impartial report on these proposals. These reports may be accessed on our school consultation reports page.
Education (Scotland) Act 2016
The Education (Scotland) Act 2016 has provisions for Gaelic. These are to ensure that education authorities assess the need for establishing Gaelic Medium Primary Education. The parent of a child who has not yet started school may request that their local education authority assesses the need for Gaelic Medium Education. More information is available on the Scottish Government website.
An important feature of this Act is that it puts in place a timely, statutory process for education authorities to follow on receipt of a parental request. HM Inspectors of Schools are involved in the statutory process and produce an independent and impartial report on the determination to set up a Gaelic Medium provision. These reports are available here:
PDF file: Glasgow City Council Report - Education (Scotland) Act 2016 (509 KB)
PDF file: Glasgow City Council Report - Education (Scotland) Act 2016 (Gaelic version) (502 KB)
PDF file: East Renfrewshire Council Report - Education (Scotland) Act 2016 (513 KB)
PDF file: East Renfrewshire Council Report - Education (Scotland) Act 2016 (Gaelic version) (511 KB)
HM Inspectors would appreciate early notice of an education authority’s intention to undertake a full assessment of the need for Gaelic Medium Primary Education. Please contact us at the earliest possible point at HMILeadGaelicSector@EducationScotland.gov.scot.
Education authorities can, as happens just now, decide to set up Gaelic Medium Education at any time without following the statutory process.
Public and education authorities also have two duties in the Education (Scotland) Act 2016 to assist with strategic planning for improvement. These are:
- actively promote Gaelic Medium and Learner Education; and
- support Gaelic Medium and Learner Education where it is provided.