“The report of HM Inspectors’ findings highlights many strengths, including the commitment of staff, the continual improvement of learning experiences for pupils, and the creation of an education system which is highly inclusive.
“The report also includes key aspects of education provision and practice which should be prioritised for improvement across many or all of Scotland’s education sectors.”
Challenges for improvement
Senior Professional Officer (Scotland) Jennifer Barnes commented:
“The report notes that early years settings need to improve approaches to self-evaluation, including tracking and monitoring children’s progress.
“For example, early years staff have not traditionally had contractually-protected non-contact time to devote to paperwork activities such as planning, tracking and monitoring. The time available for such activities has been further squeezed for many by the implementation of the 600 hours programme. This will become even more acute unless such a framework is put in place as the Scottish Government’s 1140 hours plans are implemented.
“Contractually protected non-contact time is needed to enable the early years sector to devote the time necessary to improve their approaches to these non-contact activities identified by Education Scotland, and to enable time to consistently plan and prepare high-quality learning activities for children.
“Looking at the variation in children’s attainment and achievement at school-level noted by Education Scotland, schools continue to experience a teacher and headteacher recruitment crisis, affecting continuity in children’s learning and the ability to spread effective practice.
“Time for collaboration, moderation and self-evaluation activity and time for working on partnerships requires to be built into schools’ working time agreements (WTAs), but this is challenging in light of the number of competing national priorities which schools must incorporate into their working week and in the light of staff shortages.
“Schools must continue to be supported in addressing these challenges in order to achieve the consistency desired in children’s attainment and achievement.”
Education Scotland’s Chief Executive Bill Maxwell meets Larbert High pupils at the launch of the report.