Working together

7th November 2003 at 00:00
Brian Boyd's Platform article on the new inspection strategy of HMIE conveyed a number of false impressions which would be likely to mislead the reader (TESS, October 24) His assertion that the new strategy was developed by us without consultation is very far from the truth. Before taking up my post as head of the inspectorate, I held open-ended discussions about inspection and the work of HMIE with all the main stakeholder groups including local authorities, teachers and parents. The proportionate approach to inspection arose from these meetings and the specifics of the approach have been piloted and reviewed at subsequent meetings with the same groups.

The approach has also been shaped as a result of independent research and meetings with headteachers throughout Scotland. The response, as Brian rather grudgingly recognises, has been a very strong endorsement of the approach and a very constructive reaction from the profession to the real challenges which it poses for us all.

The key to the new approach is our ability to build on the increasingly strong quality culture that exists in Scotland and to forge new ways in which inspectors and teachers can work together to raise achievement and improve quality.

The team involved in that process includes not only inspectors but well over 100 teachers and headteachers who work with us on inspection. Rather than belittling that process, it would have been more appropriate for Brian to recognise the real potential which it has to strengthen the Scottish system.

I very much welcome constructive engagement with all of those who have an interest in Scottish education. Such engagement is likely to be more productive with a little more research before leaping into print.

Graham Donaldson HM senior chief inspector Broomhouse Drive, Edinburgh

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