School inspections are to be used by the Scottish government to monitor whether councils are devolving enough power and money to heads, as it attempts to step up its reform agenda despite shelving the long-awaited Education Bill last week. Tes reports
The government will also use feedback from headteachers and council self-evaluations to monitor progress, and councils failing to deliver will receive “support and challenge” from inspectors, as well as local authorities’ body Cosla and the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland. Failure to make progress will also lead to “escalation to audit and scrutiny inspection bodies”.
A spokeswoman said: “The findings from these thematic inspections will be used to identify what is working well and aspects that need to improve. As part of the inspections, HM Inspectors will visit a sample of schools and have discussions with a range of stakeholders.”
Detailed planning for these national inspections is underway and further details will be published next month.
The plans emerged in the deal that the Scottish government and Cosla have agreed in lieu of a new law that would have guaranteed headteachers more control over staffing and what is taught in their schools.
Secondary headteachers, however, have questioned whether the schools’ inspectorate has the capacity to keep tabs on Scotland’s 32 local authorities. New analysis shows that the Education Scotland budget has fallen by £3.5 million in just two years, from £39.062 million in 2014-15 to £35.552 million in 2016-17.
Last week, Mr Swinney told Parliament that he now hoped to deliver more power for heads “faster and with less disruption in partnership with local authorities”, arguing that Scotland would have had to wait for 18 months for the Education Bill to come into force.
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