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Education Scotland - radical new approaches to improvement

​Reaching every school, every year.

Education Scotland inspections and improvement activity will reach every school, every year, Interim Chief Inspector Graeme Logan announced today (Tuesday), as he revealed a new approach to scrutiny and improvement, including an increase of one-third in the number of annual inspections.

The new suite of interventions will see more involvement from ‘Associate Assessors’ - practising principal teachers, depute headteachers or headteachers – and Education Scotland deploying most of its education staff to work with frontline leaders and practitioners.

This new suite of interventions will better support parents, teachers and headteachers and includes:

  • a significant increase in school inspection, moving from 180 to 250 schools per year initially. This represents an increase of over 30%. This will be implemented from April 2018.  More detail about further increases in school inspections will be included in the new Standards and Evaluation Framework published in December 2017.  This will provide more regular assurance on the quality of learning across Scotland. Combining this with our improvement interventions means that we will reach every school, every year
  • a single approach to inspection of early learning and childcare with the Care Inspectorate, contributing to 1,800 inspections per year as we support the expansion of care and learning for the youngest children in Scotland
  • deploying most of our education staff to work alongside teachers and other frontline practitioners through the regional improvement collaboratives, motivating change and providing specialist support.  Now that the definitive curriculum guidance is in place nationally, curriculum support and development will take place locally through the collaboratives
  • extending our team of 200 associate assessors to include aspiring headteachers.  This means that an existing teacher or practitioner will join every school inspection from April 2018 (with the exception of very small schools)
  • introducing a programme of ‘young inspectors’. Young people will work with HM Inspectors and support and drive improvement in learning. We will publish a version of How Good is our School? – the guide used for improvement in every school in Scotland – for young people by April 2018
  • using the findings of inspection to strengthen further the content of our leadership and professional learning programmes, as we support the swift transition of Scottish College of Educational Leadership (SCEL) in to Education Scotland.

This new suite of improvement approaches is in addition to our recent announcement to undertake inspections of nine local authorities over the coming year. From April 2018, we will set out and publish our annual programme of inspection activity across different sectors of education.

We will consult on our new corporate plan before the end of the year.  This will outline a bold and clear new purpose and streamlined priorities for the agency.  We will use a range of ways of engaging on this, including social media. Our Chief Inspector will speak directly with headteachers about this, signalling a fresh new way of involving leaders and practitioners in our work. Key priorities will continue to be our contribution to the Scottish Attainment Challenge and National Improvement Framework. 

Karen Reid, Interim Chief Executive of Education Scotland said: 'Increasing school inspections signals the first step in a radical new way Education Scotland will work to support and drive improvement in schools. We will strengthen our inspection function, but also work more with parents, teachers and schools to help raise standards.

'Robust inspections are a powerful tool to support improvement and ensure every young person gets the best possible education. They provide assurance about what is working well, but also evidence what improvement is needed where.'

Graeme Logan, Interim Chief Inspector of Education added: 'For us to achieve our national endeavour of excellence and equity, we need the new Education Scotland to be supporting teachers and driving improvement in education for all learners across Scotland.'

Graeme Logan added: 'Education Scotland is a partnership of people who believe passionately in the power of education to change lives. As well as our core staff team, we have 200 associates in all parts of Scotland – experienced teachers and practitioners who work with us directly.

'We want to extend this further so that there is a current practitioner on every inspection team to share practice more effectively.'

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