Scottish schools going up to 15 years without inspection

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SCOTTISH schools are going up to 15 years without being inspected, a new investigation has revealed.

Out of five Scottish council areas, including Glasgow and Falkirk, 15% of primary schools have not had an inspection for ten years or more.

Three secondary schools have also not been inspected for a decade including St Paul’s High in Pollok, Glasgow.

Another Glasgow school, Whiteinch Primary, had its last inspection 13 years ago.

The school that hasn’t been inspected for the longest amount of time was Canna Primary in the Highlands – with their last inspection report dating back to 2002.

The shocking details mean some pupils have went go through their entire school career without there ever being an inspection taking place.

Now political groups and education chiefs are calling for a review into the inspection system describing the revelation as a “serious concern”.

Conservative shadow education secretary Liz Smith said: “In some cases pupils could go right through their school career without any inspection taking place.

“I’m sure parents will find that unacceptable.”

Keir Bloomer, education committee convener at Scotland’s national academy of science and letter, the Royal Society of Edinburgh, said when the inspectorate was set up over 100 years ago, it’s purpose was clear but inspections are now “too infrequent to fulfill that satisfactory role”.

He has now called for Education Scotland to scrap reports that are over five years old from their website saying the information could be “misleading”.

He added: “The time has probably come to conduct a serious review – that is, a serious research and evidence-based investigation, not a trivial consultation, into whether this particular 19th century mechanism has a useful future-role and what that role might be.”

Greg Dempster, general secretary of AHDS, said: “We want a system of inspection that is focused on the local authority level and their ability to support schools’ development because they are the ones in and out of schools all the time supporting, directing and encouraging them.”

The details were revealed through a freedom of information request obtained by Tes Scotland magazine today.

They looked at over 500 inspection reports for secondary and primary schools in five council areas – Glasgow, Falkirk, Highland Moray and Shetland.

In Scotland there are currently 2,034 primary schools and 359 secondary schools.

Since 2008 the frequency of school inspections has dropped by more than 50% – from 362 in 2008 to 161 last year.

Out of the five local authority areas, only 67 primary schools out of 436 had been inspected in the last decade.

Last year only 19 secondary schools were inspected in comparison to 61 in 2008.

The number of primary schools inspected dropped from 265 in 2008 to 124 last year.

Special schools being inspection in Scotland dropped by 50% from 36 in 2008 to 18 last year.

This is despite the Curriculum of Excellence being introduced in 2010 which was set to revolutionise how schools in Scotland are run.

Councils and the schools themselves are currently responsible for arranging their inspections.

In the past schools have criticised inspections saying they are “disruptive”.

An Education Scotland spokeswoman said schools were inspected on a “proportionate basis and not on a cyclical basis”.

She stated that schools were selected for inspection based on risk or a representative sample.

She added: “The Scottish new standards and evaluation framework is specified within the National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan will set expectations on the focus and frequency of school inspection carried out by Education Scotland in future.”

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