Catalog-Item Reuse

Annual Programme of Inspection Activity

At Education Scotland we believe that inspection is a key element in supporting and driving improvement in education. Inspection gives assurance that a school or service is providing the high-quality education expected for Scotland's learners; it supports improvement through professional discussion and sharing good practice; and it informs national policy on education.

As a public sector organisation, we are committed to openness and transparency and continually review how we can provide access to accurate and helpful information about our inspection and review programme.

Each year the Chief Inspector agrees the scale and priorities of our inspection and review programme in agreement with the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.​

We are now publishing, for the first time, our intended programme of inspection and review activity across all sectors for the forthcoming academic year (from August 2018-July 2019).

Programme of Inspection Activity (August 2018-July 2019)


Planned Number of Inspections

Early learning and childcare settings, including nursery classes in schools

Education Scotland will undertake at least 140 inspections in this sector. Work is currently underway to develop a shared inspection framework with the Care Inspectorate. Our annual programme of inspection will be updated to reflect the new arrangements in due course.


Education Scotland will undertake 250 inspections across the school sector.

This will include:

  • ​a sample of 120 inspections which will focus on the following quality indicators:

1.3 Leadership of Change

2.3 Learning, teaching and assessment

3.1 Ensuring wellbeing, equality and inclusion

3.2 Raising attainment and achievement

In these inspections we will also gather evidence on school empowerment through the Leadership of Change quality improvement indicator.

Further inspections


We currently anticipate carrying out 50 further inspections of schools where we have identified important weaknesses in the quality of education.

Community learning and development services

We will inspect eight community learning and development services and carry out a further inspection of one community and learning service.


The quality assurance arrangements for colleges are agreed annually between Education Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council. These arrangements are built on continuous engagement with all 27 colleges across 13 regions, leading to the production by each college of an Evaluative Report and an associated Enhancement Plan for endorsement by Education Scotland and the Scottish Funding Council. These will be published in February 2019.

Private colleges and English language schools

Inspections of private colleges and English language schools are determined by the requirements of UK Visa and Immigration to meet the requirements for educational oversight for Tier 4 sponsor status. Of the eight colleges currently supported by Education Scotland, two will be inspected during 2018-19 with the remaining six being in the cycle for annual engagement. This is dependent on colleges requesting inspection to retain Tier 4 status.

Career information, advice and guidance services

We inspect the quality of careers information and guidance services delivered by Skills Development Scotland across five council areas, (The Moray Council, East Renfrewshire Council, Angus Council, West Lothian Council, and West Dunbartonshire Council). We will also carry out three follow up inspections (Midlothian Council, South Lanarkshire Council, Dundee City Council).

Modern Apprentice training

We will conduct national thematic inspection for Modern Apprentice in Hospitality.

A further national thematic inspection for Modern Apprentice sector will be identified through the year.

Prison education

We will join three inspections at request of HM Inspectorate of Prisons.

Education functions of local authorities

We will work in partnership with Audit Scotland, to complete a programme of inspections to evaluate the progress made by local authorities in improving learning, raising attainment and closing the poverty related attainment gap. These inspections focus on the nine local authorities who are designated as challenge authorities within the Scottish Attainment Challenge. We will carry out inspections of Glasgow City Council, East Ayrshire Council and Renfrewshire Council.

National thematic inspections

We will carry out a national thematic inspection across of a sample of early learning and childcare settings and schools which focuses on mathematics.

Education Scotland will carry out three national thematic inspections which focus on school empowerment in academic year 2018/19. Each inspection will focus on a different aspect of school empowerment:

  1. Readiness for empowerment. We will publish our findings in December 2018
  2. Curriculum leadership. We will publish our findings in March 2019
  3. Parent and pupil participation. We will publish our findings in June 2019

The findings from these thematic inspections will be used to identify what is working well and aspects which need to improve. As part of the inspections HM Inspectors will visit a sample of schools and have discussions with a range of stakeholders.

We are currently undertaking discussions about the national thematic inspections as part of the steering group for the Joint Agreement and more information will be provided in due course.

We may also carry out further national inspections as identified by the Chief Inspector or at the request of the Cabinet Secretary for Education.


Over and above our planned programme of inspections we may also carry out inspection activity in response to an analysis of risk.

To further improve our openness and transparency each month we will publish the number of inspection reports published in the previous month:

PDF file: Inspection reports published May 2019

PDF file: Inspection reports published April 2019​

PDF file: Inspection reports published March 2019

PDF file: Inspection reports published February 2019

PDF file: Inspection reports published January 2019

PDF file: Inspection reports published December 2018

PDF file: Inspection reports published November 2018

PDF file: Inspection reports published October 2018

PDF file: Inspection reports published September 2018

PDF file: Inspection reports published August 2018

There were no reports published in July due to the school holidays.

PDF file: Inspection reports published June 2018

PDF file: Inspection reports published May 2018

PDF file: Inspection reports published April 2018 

PDF file: Inspection reports published March 2018

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