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HM Chief Inspector highlights emerging strengths and key areas for education providers to improve

Scotland’s Chief Education Inspector has today published a review of inspection findings over the last four years, highlighting some areas of growing strength and five key areas for further improvement.

The report of HM Inspectors’ findings, ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012-2016’ covers all sectors, from early years provision to adult learning. The report can be downloaded as one document, or by sector-specific chapters. There are also links to blogs giving further information and commentary.

Launching the report today at Larbert High School, Dr Bill Maxwell, HM Chief Inspector of Education and Chief Executive of the improvement agency Education Scotland, commented that over the period of the report inspectors have identified many aspects of learning, across sectors, which have been transformed as schools, colleges and other education providers have evolved and developed over the last four years.

Strengths include:

  • a strong commitment of leaders and staff to improving outcomes for children and young people. In many establishments and services aspects of leadership are strong.
  • continual improvement in the quality of learning experiences for pupils. As a result, children and young people are increasingly well motivated, engaged and actively involved in their learning.
  • Education provision across all sectors which is highly inclusive, reflecting improvements in the knowledge and understanding staff have of Getting it Right for Every Child.
  • more young people who are having a wider range of their learning and achievements accredited through youth award schemes and other approaches.

However, he highlighted that there is more to do if Scotland is to provide all children and young people with consistently high-quality learning experiences.

The report highlights five key areas in which education leaders and practitioners need to prioritise their efforts to further improve education provision and practice:

  • exploiting fully the flexibility of Curriculum for Excellence to meet better the needs of all learners;
  • improving arrangements for assessment and tracking to provide personalised guidance and support throughout the learner journey;
  • maximising the contribution of partnerships with other services, parents and the wider community to enhance children’s and young people's learning experiences;
  • improving further the use of self-evaluation and improvement approaches to ensure consistent high quality of provision; and
  • growing a stronger culture of collaboration within and across establishments and services to drive innovation, sharing of practice and collective improvement.

Dr Bill Maxwell said: “Overall, our inspectors have been impressed by the strong commitment of leaders and staff to improving outcomes for children and young people. High-quality leadership will be essential to ensuring that sufficient progress is made, across all sectors, in order to continue to secure improvements in education practice and achieve our national ambition of ensuring all learners can reach their potential, regardless of their background.

“We believe that addressing these five priority areas for improvement effectively will make a decisive contribution to achieving the twin aims of excellence and equity for Scottish learners which sit at the heart of the National Improvement Framework.”

The report gives a narrative summary of findings from inspections and other evaluative activities gathered from observing practice at first hand across the whole country and a broad range of educational sectors.

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