Reporting on the performance of Scottish education was ‘once standard operational practice for the education inspectorate’ – but the last report was published in 2020.

Since the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish school inspectorate has not published a report feeding back its findings from the hundreds of school inspections it carries out annually.

This is despite the system going through one of its most challenging periods in living memory, with pupil performance in key areas worsening, school staff reporting increasingly poor behaviour and pupil attendance a constant challenge in many schools.

Education Scotland carries out around 250 school inspections a year. However, the last report it published giving an overview of its inspection findings came out in February 2020, based on the findings from the 252 school inspections carried out the previous year, in 2018-19.

That report talks about the “unique evidence base” the inspectorate has “drawn from observing practice at first hand across the country”.

However, the concern is that in recent years – while reports continue to be published on individual schools – much of the insight and knowledge gleaned from the full gamut of school inspection is failing to reach a wider audience and support improvement.

Andrea Bradley, general secretary of the EIS teaching union, said the failure to share overall findings suggested “the approach to inspection has focused much more strongly on quality assurance – putting scores on the doors – than on promoting improvement”.

However, the EIS had “not heard a whisper from members” complaining about the lack of overviews in recent years from HMIE (or HM Inspectorate of Education, the historical title still used to refer to the inspection function of Education Scotland).

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