Inspections - Summary

For inspections by Education Scotland:

  • Inspections can take the form of sampled whole-school inspections, 3-18 curricular area inspections or inspections on a generic theme.
  • The written notification period of an inspection visit is three weeks for secondary schools and two weeks for primary schools and early years centres. 
  • Discussions will take place between the inspectors and head teacher about arrangements for the inspection.
  • Inspectors will inform the school of any documentation to be available prior to the inspection and on the first day of inspection. 
  • Schools will be required to complete their self-evaluation summary form and discuss it with the inspection team on the first day of the inspection. 
  • Confidential questionnaires will be distributed to parents, all staff (teaching and non-teaching) and a sample of pupils (not nursery) prior to the inspection. 
  • An inspection may last between three and four days (starts Monday lunch, finishing at any time between Thursday and Friday). 
  • The school will be inspected by a team of inspectors lead by a Managing Inspector who is an HM Inspector of Education. 
  • Inspectors will observe classroom practice amongst their activities. 
  • Inspectors will want to engage in professional dialogue at appropriate points during the inspection. 
  • Special lesson plans for the inspectors are not necessary. 
  • If inspectors are satisfied with the school’s self-evaluation procedures and the outcomes arising from it they may disengage early from formal evaluative activities. 
  • Within two weeks of the end of the inspection a draft copy of the report in letter format will be provided for comment to the school, the education authority and the Chairperson of the Parent Council.
  • The Education Scotland website will publish the report letter along with relevant inspection evidence, e.g. attainment information, within eight working weeks after the end of the inspection. 
  • Continuing engagement activities with Education Scotland may be required after the inspection. 
  • Nursery schools and schools with nursery provision should note the differences and links between the Care Inspectorate and Education Scotland inspections. 

Download PDF