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Scotland - Chief inspector takes on critics

The outgoing head of the Scottish schools inspectorate has mounted a robust defence of his organisation.

In an interview to mark his last day as senior chief inspector of education after almost eight years in charge, Graham Donaldson says he believes the reforms he began in 2003 have led to a shift in the negative perception of inspection.

"We are now seen very much as part of the process of improvement, not just as a referee standing on the sidelines making judgments and then walking away," he said.

But Danny Murphy, head of Lornshill Academy in Alloa, former Scottish Qualification for Headship lead at Edinburgh University, described the inspection regime as "unreliable, limited and simplistic".

His critique was prompted in part by the suicide of Galashiels head Irene Hogg following an inspection of her school.

Mr Donaldson argued that, while the new form of inspection was "a work in progress". it enjoyed more confidence.

In a recent survey by the Association of Headteachers and Deputes in Scotland, 80 per cent of primary heads said their inspections had been a "positive experience". NM.

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