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Community learning and development inspections

​This page contains summary information about the current models for inspecting community learning and development (CLD). Links to CLD inspection and review reports are also provided.

About community learning and development inspections

A community learning and development inspection is based around a local authority area, with a focus on the partnership delivery of CLD similar to the previous learning community inspection model.

These inspections take place within the context of The Requirements for Community Learning and Development (Scotland) Regulations 2013 and the Strategic Guidance for Community Planning Partnerships: Community Learning and Development (2012).

The Scottish Government's National Performance Framework sets out the strategic objectives for all public services, including those delivering CLD. Within this Framework, CLD's specific focus is:

  • improved life chances for people of all ages through learning, personal development and active citizenship
  • stronger, more resilient, supportive, influential and inclusive communities.

CLD inspections allow us to identify and report how well these objectives are being met. Within this inspection model, we work with the local authority and CLD partners to look at:

  • How good is the strategic leadership of community learning and development?
  • How good is the learning and development in a local community?

In providing answers to these questions, inspectors will refer to the quality framework How good is the learning and development in our community? (Updated September 2016). In doing so, we will take account of the context in which the local authority and CLD partners deliver services and meet the needs of a defined local community and its learners.

We will focus on the current and evolving policy context, for example: closing the poverty-related attainment gap; early intervention plan and prevention; learner journey and youth employment; reducing social isolation; tackling health inequalities; and empowering communities.

Background to the inspection process

The delivery of CLD across Scotland is changing. The Workforce Development Survey, published in August 2015, indicates that there is a large and diverse range of organisations and services with paid or volunteer staff that support CLD across all 32 local authorities.

Staff in CLD roles work for a wide range of different organisations across the public and third sectors. There are more than 500 paid staff in CLD roles working in organisations such as health boards and colleges. However, local authorities are still the largest employers of CLD staff.

Education Scotland has introduced more flexible models for inspecting CLD in recognition of the fact that ‘one size does not fit all’.

CLD inspectors will continue to join secondary and all-through school inspection teams and will conduct validated self-evaluation (VSE) and further inspections with some local authorities as required.

PDF file: CLD Validated Self-evaluation Guidance - September 2017 (100 KB)

Supporting guidance

This briefing note and accompanying templates are designed to assist lead officers of CLD and CLD partners to plan and prepare for an inspection.

PDF file: CLD Inspections - eBriefing and templates - updated July 2017 (267 KB)

Zip file: CLD inspections - MS Word templates (126 KB)

CLD inspection and review reports

All current and previous Community Learning and Development inspection reports are available on our website.

A report on the Community Learning and Development Plans 2015-18 - Planning for change in Scotland's communities and an aspect review of progress made in implementing the CLD Regulations, Community Learning and Development (CLD) Planning have also been published.

During 2015 and 2016, Education Scotland explored place-based inspections by trying out some other models of inspection and review. Reviews of Creative Places and Development Trusts are published on our website.

CLD continuing engagement model

We will undertake continuing engagement of CLD provision within an authority as a result of the outcomes of the original inspection. The briefing note and accompanying templates are designed to assist planning for the continuing engagement visit by HM Inspectors. It will help local authorities prepare and outline the type of activity which should take place.

CLD inspection helps us to answer the following questions that were asked in the original inspection:

How good is the strategic leadership of community learning and development?; and
How good is the learning and development in a defined local community?

To answer these questions we will refer to the quality framework, How good is the learning and development in our community?​(2016).

Our aim of continuing engagement is to help the local authority and its partners to improve. To do so we will focus primarily on the areas for improvement identified in the original inspection report. However, we will also want to see that the quality of provision overall has not diminished.

For any further guidance about continuing engagement, local authorities should contact the Managing Inspector.

PDF file: CLD Continuing Engagement Inspection model - November 2018 (619 KB​)​

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