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Inspection with a difference

I was interested to read your news item "Lead inspectors who are not qualified to teach hired to judge schools" (27 July).

I am sure that many of your readers will be well aware of the significant differences that exist between the education systems in Scotland and England. These differences extend also to school inspections, how they are carried out and who leads them. All inspections in Scotland are carried out by the new, single education body, Education Scotland, whose staff include HM Inspectors from the former HM Inspectorate of Education. There is no contracting out of inspections to private inspection services as is the case in England.

All managing inspectors leading school inspection teams in Scotland are HM Inspectors, appointed by the Privy Council. All have extensive experience of working in schools. All inspection teams are made up of senior education professionals, many of whom have held senior posts in schools and education authorities.

A further important feature of school inspections in Scotland is that many include, as full team members, associate assessors who are current, high- quality practitioners in their field. This important and unique aspect of Scottish inspections adds to the authority of inspection findings and helps to build capacity in the education system. It is also a feature of inspection that has attracted much interest from inspectorates in other countries.

In Scotland, teachers can be wholly assured about the quality and experience of those leading and doing the inspection.

Kenneth Muir, strategic director (schools) and director of inspection, Education Scotland.

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