Is this the most inspected college in Scotland?

2nd September 2005 at 01:00
John Wheatley College in Glasgow believes it should be in the Guinness Book of Records as "the most inspected, or reviewed, piece of educational real estate in Scotland".

Ian Graham, the principal, has written to Graham Donaldson, head of the inspectorate, lodging a protest and requesting that "for a while, the college is left alone". Mr Graham has threatened to invoke the HMIE complaints procedure if necessary.

But Mr Donaldson has told him that the number of HMIE visits to the college over the past two years is close to the average for all colleges. Twelve colleges had more visits, 13 the same number and 20 had fewer.

Mr Graham said that, in the past year, the college has been involved in an "aspect inspection" on inclusion, a quality review of its own provision 18 months earlier than expected, an inspection of Lochend Community High, along with the college's own review, and a follow-up review of the Greater Easterhouse community learning plan.

The principal added that, on his return from holiday, he discovered the college is to have another visit and will be involved in the quality assurance exercise for the skills for work pilot aimed at 14-16s.

Mr Graham says that this interest is less than "proportionate" and is having a detrimental effect on staff morale and on the college's overall development. "It is also imposing heavy opportunity costs on a small college," he said. "These are now becoming crippling."

Mr Donaldson replied that college principals usually welcome scheduled HMIE visits as "constructive and developmental".

He said the inspectorate's interest in the college reflected the diverse nature of its work. "The results of these visits are intended to contribute not just to development within the college itself, but more widely to help understanding nationally of important issues such as inclusion and lifelong learning."

Mr Donaldson told Mr Graham: "You have, on a previous occasion, drawn to my attention the interesting nature of work being done at John Wheatley and its potential to inform development more widely."

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