Still awaiting independent inspection

11th April 2003 at 01:00
Your article last week alleging that I had "scored an own goal" with regard to my comments on the astonishingly patchy geo-graphical spread of inspections over the past two decades was, in itself, an own goal, at least for Michael O'Neill of North Lanarkshire Council.

No matter how well "proportionate" inspection develops, there will still remain a national framework of independent - and the word is vital - inspection. Even the much vaunted "self-inspection" of schools will not eliminate that statutory requirement.

Self-assessment by definition is not independent nor can it have full regard to national standards and requirements.

In addition, many teachers find the present bureaucratic burden of constant target-setting, form-filling and reporting back to council headquarters almost unsupportable and many parents would question whether such actions should take the place of truly independent inspections within a seven-year cycle.

A combination of light self-assessment and modern, proportionate, supportive inspection is the right solution, not one or the other.

Certainly Mr O'Neill's assertion that "inspections do not tell us anything we do not know" is not the democratic or responsible way forward.

It is therefore entirely legitimate to ask (as I did) why North Lanarkshire has one of the highest proportions of schools un-inspected for the last decade, and why the Scottish Executive has allowed that situation to continue, in dereliction of its statutory duty.

It is also entirely legitimate to argue that, without a truly national spread of inspections, national policy-making will be based on an incomplete picture.

Michael Russell

SNP spokesperson for children and education

Subscribe to get access to the content on this page.

If you are already a Tes/ Tes Scotland subscriber please log in with your username or email address to get full access to our back issues, CPD library and membership plus page.

Not a subscriber? Find out more about our subscription offers.
Subscribe now
Existing subscriber?
Enter subscription number


The guide by your side – ensuring you are always up to date with the latest in education.

Get Tes magazine online and delivered to your door. Stay up to date with the latest research, teacher innovation and insight, plus classroom tips and techniques with a Tes magazine subscription.
With a Tes magazine subscription you get exclusive access to our CPD library. Including our New Teachers’ special for NQTS, Ed Tech, How to Get a Job, Trip Planner, Ed Biz Special and all Tes back issues.

Subscribe now