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Inspection: teachers 'wind each other up'

Individual pupils' experiences of school may become a feature of future inspection reports, according to the senior chief inspector of education.

In its role inspecting child protection services, HMIE uses children's experiences to track how well services have worked together. Following a pilot in West Lothian, it is in discussion with the Scottish Government about extending the practice to education.

Examining how individual cases were handled was a "powerful" way of getting beyond the rhetoric and showing what was happening on the ground, Graham Donaldson told the parliamentary education committee last week

Meanwhile, independent research into HMIE's new approach to inspections, which began in August, has found that 80 to 90 per cent of respondents were positive about the experience, according to inspectors. The new inspections are designed to have "maximum impact with minimum intrusion".

Mr Donaldson claimed there had always been a very positive response to school inspections. There was "a lot of mythology" around attitudes to inspections, he told MSPs. Teachers would "wind up other teachers", and reports in the media only appeared when things had been difficult or challenging.

"The main difference is that people feel they are more part of the process, rather than that they regard the process as more or less humane," he said. "The previous process also received a lot of support."

LACK OF KNOWLEDGE

Teachers' poor knowledge of mathematics and science is impacting on pupils' overall attainment, claims a chief inspector of education. The most significant problems were in science and, "to some degree, maths", Chris McIlroy told the hearing. He said their lack of knowledge was "less evident in (English) language", but sometimes inspectors did come across it.

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