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The Scots don't have a word for it

(Photograph) - In Scotland, schools do not "struggle" or "fail" - at least officially. Such designations do not figure in the vocabulary of HM Inspectorate, whose role within the Scottish Office Education Department was unaffected by the changes which produced OFSTED south of the border.

To guarantee the Parents' Charter pledge of quality in schools, the inspectors prepare an action plan for every school they have inspected. It is drawn up in conjunction with the local authority and school, and the level of success in carrying it out determines whether, after a follow-up inspection, a school needs yet further help. It is comparatively rare for a school not to be given a clean bill of health after the follow-up, and where further action is requested it is usually confined to one or two points on which dissatisfaction remains.

Where a local authority indentifies weaknesses, for example in school management, through its own quality assurance procedures or has these drawn to its attention by an HMI report, it tries to give extra support, perhaps by temporarily seconding someone to work with the headteacher.

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