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Nearly 100 north-east schools not inspected in 10 years – Evening Express

Nearly 100 north-east schools have not been formally inspected in a decade.

New figures show a total of 98 establishments across Aberdeen, Aberdeenshire and Moray have had no visits from inspectors in the last 10 years.

The figures, which were obtained under Freedom of Information legislation, show 18 affected schools in both Aberdeen and Moray.

However, in Aberdeenshire, the number of schools not formally visited is 62, the second-highest in Scotland behind the Highlands.

A number of years ago the education system moved from a “cyclical” inspection policy – where each school would be visited every six or seven years – to a “sampling” model, where 120 institutions are selected each year.

As a result of the new statistics, education chiefs and government ministers are facing calls to create a new independent body to oversee standards in schools.

Stewart Whyte, the Scottish Conservative candidate for Aberdeenshire East at next month’s election and a secondary school history teacher, said: “This is negligence from an SNP government which has lost the place with education in the north-east.

© Stewart Whyte
North-east Conservative candidate Stewart Whyte.

“It’s alarming to see that Aberdeenshire has the second-highest figures in Scotland and it feels like they have abandoned our children in Aberdeenshire.

“These revelations show there will be thousands of pupils who have gone through their entire primary or secondary school journey without a single inspection taking place.

“Teachers in Aberdeenshire are dedicated and committed professionals but they are missing out on modern inspections which are there to provide support to ensure pupils are getting the best education

“Under the Scottish Conservatives, no pupil will go to a school that is in a poor or bad condition by the end of the next Parliament.

“We would also establish a new independent body for inspecting our schools which would restore confidence in the system.”

Inspections are carried out by Education Scotland, a Scottish Government agency.

It says the number of visits carried out has been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic.

However, bosses insist they are increasing the number of schools inspected – and will recommence once it is safe.

A spokeswoman for the organisation said: “In Scotland, overall responsibility for the quality of education and securing continuous improvement sits with the local authority.

“There is a three-level approach to evaluating and improving education: schools have a responsibility to evaluate their performance; local authorities have responsibility for the quality of education in their area; and the third level is an inspection carried out by HM Inspectors of Education.

“Schools are selected for inspection on a proportionate basis, using a sampling approach and predetermined set criteria rather than a cyclical approach.

“Education Scotland has significantly increased the number of school inspections. In the academic year 2018/19, Education Scotland completed 252 school inspections – an increase of over 30% on the previous year.

“In academic year 2019/20, Education Scotland had committed to carrying out in excess of 250 school inspections.

“This was on track to be achieved. However, the inspection programme was paused on 13 March 2020 due to Covid-19, which meant that the programme for the academic year could not be completed as planned.

“Education Scotland will recommence inspections when it is considered safe and appropriate to do so.”

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