Some Scottish schools have gone over 10 years without inspection

Schools throughout Scotland have not had an inspection in 10 or more years. Picture: John Devlin
Schools throughout Scotland have not had an inspection in 10 or more years. Picture: John Devlin
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Some schools in Scotland were last inspected ten years ago or more, according to an investigation.

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Some schools in Scotland were last inspected ten years ago or more, according to an investigation.

A survey of more than 500 primary and secondary schools in five local authorities – Glasgow, Falkirk, Highland, Moray and Shetland – revealed wide variations. Figures from Times Education Scotland show 15 per cent of primaries – 67 out of 436 – had not had an inspection report for a decade or longer. Whiteinch primary in Glasgow and Staffin primary in Highland had reports dating back to 2004. Three secondaries had not been inspected for a decade – St Paul’s High in Glasgow, Mallaig High and Dingwall Academy in Highland.

Keir Bloomer, educationalist and education convener at the Royal Society of Edinburgh, is calling for the inspectorate’s role to be reviewed as, overall, inspections have dropped by more than 50 per cent from 362 in 2008-9 to 161 in 2016-17.

Last year, only 19 secondary schools were inspected, compared with 61 in 2009-10.

But government body Education Scotland said it was the responsibility of local authorities and schools to maintain standards between inspection visits at Scotland’s 2,034 primary schools and 359 secondaries.

Liz Smith, MSP, Conservative shadow education secretary, described inspection gaps as “a serious concern”.

She said: “In some cases pupils could go right through their school career without any inspection taking place.”

Seamus Searson, general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association, said there were no requirements around the frequency of inspections and resources should be better targeted.

He said: “Schools are checked by local authorities on a regular basis and school improvement officers pick up problems before inspectors.

“We would rather the inspectorate inspected the councils, because if local authorities are doing their jobs they can identify issues and the inspectorate would only need to do a quick visit. It’s only schools needing support from the inspectorate which need inspections.”

An Education Scotland spokeswoman said schools were inspected on “a proportionate basis and not on a cyclical basis”. She added: “The Scottish new standards and evaluation framework as specified within the national improvement framework … will set expectations on the focus and frequency of school inspection carried out by Education Scotland in future.”

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