By Alastair Delaney, Director of Inspection
Being an HM Inspector is a massive privilege. Unlike anyone else, you get to see practice in classrooms, colleges, and communities across the length and breadth of Scotland. It is sometimes humbling to see the huge efforts that educational professionals and others are making to secure the best outcomes for learners. It is certainly uplifting and affirming to see excellent practice across sectors and communities.
But HM Inspectors also have a responsibility to the system to share what they see and to analyse and synthesise all the evidence to help everyone tackle the challenges they face. Our recent report, ‘Quality and improvement in Scottish education 2012 – 2016’ (QuISE) is an example of us sharing what we have seen – both the excellent practice and the consistent themes and challenges that the system is wrestling with. QuISE does this by providing detailed comments for each sector, but then also bringing the evidence together to identify themes for the system as a whole.
The five key challenges and opportunities that the report identifies are a rallying call to focus on what will have the biggest impact. I hope that they have proven useful in your discussions in staff rooms, local authorities and elsewhere.
Of course, the knowledge Inspectors gather is used in the interim period between publication of major reports such as QuISE. We are constantly feeding this evidence and intelligence into policy makers, politicians and others so that they can take account of it in their work.
We are also exploring how we can make some of our analysis of particular themes or issues more readily available to all, for example by running short, focused evaluations of particular issues of interest to ensure that we can help the system improve. This is just one approach we are looking at and we’ll update you on our plans in due course.
In the meantime, I hope that the report has been useful and, more importantly, has helped you to reflect on your practice and be creative and innovative in responding to the issues and challenges you experience every day.