Robust inspection

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WITH regards to Tavish Scott’s article “School Inspectors need independence again” (Perspective, 10 January), I would like to reassure Mr Scott and all learners, parents and education professionals that Scotland’s school inspection programme remains absolutely robust and independent within Education Scotland.

The need to “provide independent evaluation on the quality of educational provision” is prominent in Education Scotland’s remit as Scotland’s national education improvement agency, and the way we manage our business ensures that we report “without fear or favour”. We have a specific director of inspection role to ring-fence the impartiality and objectivity of inspection reports, and to create separation between the chief executive and a formal “keeper” of independent inspection standards.

Drawing on broad consultation with the users and providers of education, the way we inspect schools and other provision has certainly evolved substantially in recent years. I believe strongly that we now have an ideal model to promote improvements in modern teaching and learning, with the key advantage that we can now feed knowledge gained from our robust inspection process directly into better targeting the curriculum support and advice we provide.

Although inspection has changed, it remains true to our ten principles of inspection, reflecting Scottish Government policy on scrutiny improvement and well-established UK-wide principles for inspection and regulation bodies. The first of these principles is “independence, impartiality and accountability”.The independence of our inspection process has remained steadfast, and its purpose is constant – to bring about improvement in Scotland’s education system, for the benefit of all our learners.

Dr Bill Maxwell

Chief executive
Education Scotland