Over 200 school inspections planned this academic year

Education Scotland plans ‘over 90’ school visits before December and ‘at least 120’ from January to June

Emma Seith

Over 200 school inspections planned this academic year

Figures obtained by Tes Scotland show that the schools inspectorate plans to carry out at least 210 visits over the course of the current academic year.

Last week curriculum and inspection body Education Scotland announced its intention to restart inspection, after an 18-month hiatus when inspection was suspended as a result of the pandemic

In the 2020-21 school year no inspections were carried out in Scotland.

Background: Scottish school inspections to return in January

Related: Education Scotland to be ‘substantially reformed’

News: SQA and Education Scotland reform team is revealed

The figures: School inspections rise by over a third in a year

The body said it was planning “a phased return”, with schools due a further inspection prioritised up to December and then a new programme of individual inspections of early learning and childcare settings and schools taking place from January to June 2022.

Now Tes Scotland has learned that Education Scotland plans to carry out “over 90 visits” before the end of 2021 and “at least 120 inspections” between January and June, meaning a total of at least 210 inspections.

Return of school inspections 'a retrograde step'

The number of inspections carried out in 2016-17 was 161; in 2017-18, 182 inspections were carried out; and in 2018-19, there were 252 inspections.

In 2019-20 Education Scotland aimed to carry out 250 inspections but, as a result of the pandemic and the subsequent suspension of inspection in March 2020, it carried out 169 inspections.

The significant rise in inspections between 2017-18 and 2018-19 was down to the decision to increase the target number of schools that Education Scotland inspects annually to 250 a year.

When Education Scotland announced last week that inspections would be starting up again, the EIS teaching union accused it and the Scottish government of being “deeply out of touch”.

The EIS argued that inspection is “of limited value in supporting learning and teaching at the best of times” and would detract attention away from education recovery and the focus on pupil and teacher wellbeing.

It added: “This is a retrograde step and one which suggests that the Scottish government is not listening to the concerns and needs of the teaching profession as it continues to fight the impact of the pandemic.

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Emma Seith

Emma Seith

Emma Seith is a reporter for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Emma_Seith

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