About inspection and review

​​​​​​Inspection and review supports improvement and provides assurance on quality and improvement in Scottish education in order to promote the highest standards of learning leading to better outcomes for all learners.

Inspection and review fulfil this by:

  • providing assurance and public accountability
  • promoting improvement
  • informing the development of educational policy and practice.

Education Scotland's status as an Executive Agency means that we operate independently and impartially whilst remaining directly accountable to Scottish Ministers for the standards of our work. This status safeguards the independence of inspection. We also have strong governance arrangements, which ensure inspection activity is independent and provides reliable and impartial evaluations of education practice and its impact on learners​.

Terms we use in the inspection process

The following table explains the words inspectors use when making judgements.

excellentmeansoutstanding, sector-leading
very goodmeansmajor strengths
goodmeansimportant strengths with some areas for improvement
satisfactorymeansstrengths just outweigh weaknesses
weakmeansimportant weaknesses
unsatisfactorymeansmajor weaknesses

The following words are used to describe numbers and proportions:

almost allmeansover 90%
mostmeans75% to 90%
majoritymeans50% to 74%
less than halfmeans15% to 49%
fewmeansup to 15%