Shadow Education Secretary Liam Kerr and SNP Education MInister Jenny Gilruth.
By Bill Heaney
The Scottish Conservatives have revealed that almost half of Scotland’s schools have not been inspected over the past decade.
Responses to Freedom of Information requests submitted by the party expose the “staggering” scale of this problem, with only 57% of state schools and 54% of independent schools having been inspected in the last 10 years.
Shadow education secretary Liam Kerr has described these statistics as “completely unacceptable” because they leave parents in the dark over any potential failings at their children’s school.
He added that, with many children’s learning having been badly affected by the pandemic, it was more important than ever to know if individual schools were equipped to help pupils make up for lost time.
These figures come against the backdrop of the SNP’s ongoing failure to close the poverty-related attainment gap, plummeting teacher morale and escalating classroom violence.
Liam Kerr MSP said: “The fact that more than half of Scottish schools have gone a decade without inspection is completely unacceptable.
“We need a rigorous, reliable and, above all, regular inspections system so that parents are aware of how their child’s school is performing and so that schools know what they need to do to improve what they are offering pupils.
“That’s particularly crucial post-Covid because of the toll that the various lockdowns have taken on pupils’ education and the need for them to get back on track.
“But these figures show that, in too many cases, we are kept in the dark over the performance of our schools on the SNP’s watch. That’s not good enough when, despite the best efforts of dedicated teachers, Scotland’s education system is stretched to breaking point after 16 years of SNP neglect.
“Jenny Gilruth must urgently get on top of this issue and ensure that regular school inspections are put in place, for the benefit of parents, pupils and teachers.
“At a time when the attainment gap remains enormous, teacher morale is at rock bottom and classroom violence is rising, these staggering statistics are proof that education never was and never will be a priority for this SNP government.”
Almost half of Scottish schools haven’t been inspected for 10 years. Scottish Conservative research has found through freedom of information requests that only 57% of state schools have been inspected since 2012-13, whilst only 54% of independent schools have been inspected since 2012-13. (FOI available upon request).
Over 1,000 Scottish schools haven’t been inspected for 10 years. Scottish Conservative research has found through freedom of information requests that only 57% of Scottish schools have been inspected since 2012-13. (FOI available upon request).
Under the SNP Scottish education has gone backwards in international rankings. Scotland’s Maths score has dropped in every PISA survey and is now at a record low and below the OECD average, with science also now at a record low. The reading score is lower than levels seen in 2000 and 2003. Overall, Scotland is now performing worse than Northern Ireland, Portugal, Czech Republic, Slovenia and Denmark (OECD, PISA 2019, 3 December 2019, link).
The SNP have failed to close the attainment gap. In 2022, the attainment gap widened once again. The attainment gap for pupils achieving an A-C grade at National 5 was 14.6 percentage points which is higher than in 2020 and 2021. At Higher level the A-C gap was 15 percentage points, nearly double of last year. (SQA Monitoring Report 2022, 9 August 2022, link).