Projected fall in Scottish school inspections criticised by Tories

Liz Smith MSP
Liz Smith MSP
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The number of primary and secondary school inspections is projected to fall despite a pledge to increase checks.

The Scottish Conservatives have highlighted figures showing that in 2016/17 it is expected that 107 inspections will be carried out, down from 115 the previous year and the lowest number in five years.

Of the inspections projected, 90 are expected to take place in primary schools and 17 in secondary schools.

When the issue was raised at First Minister’s Questions in January, Nicola Sturgeon said there would be an increase in inspections over the coming years.

The figures are contained in papers for this week’s meeting of Holyrood’s Education Committee, which is currently looking at the performance of Education Scotland, the public body responsible for inspections.

Committee member and Tory education spokeswoman Liz Smith said: “Nicola Sturgeon made a pledge to the Scottish Parliament earlier this year that there would be an increase in inspections.

“Yet, this year, it is projected there will be fewer than at any point over the last five years.

“The First Minister has to explain why this promise has been broken and what she intends to do to address the issue.

“Inspections of primary and secondary schools are essential in ensuring standards are high and children are receiving the best possible education in a good environment for learning.

“The SNP clearly thinks otherwise and this is just another example of a Scottish Government quango failing to deliver when it comes to ensuring quality education.”

An Education Scotland spokesman said: “Education Scotland has committed to increasing inspections over the coming years and we are confident that we will deliver on this commitment.

“The reality is we will see no fall in the number of inspections this year and we will see a significant increase in 2017/18.

“The projections provided to the Education Committee were correct at the time they were collated, however the exact number of inspections regularly change in-year as resources are redeployed.”