Arran primary schools in inspection row

Shiskine Primary School was named as one of the schools on Arran which were last inspected in 2005. 01_B17primary01

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Four primary schools on Arran have been named in a row involving 28 schools in North Ayrshire which have not been inspected for more than 10 years.

Corrie and Shiskine primaries were highlighted among the longest last-inspected, in 2005, and Kilmory and Pirnmill primaries were also named, having last been inspected in 2006.

The extended period that schools have gone without an inspection has led West Scotland MSP Jamie Greene to accuse the Scottish government of a ‘dereliction of duty’.

The figures come from a Freedom of Information (FOI) request which show that more than 40 per cent of Scotland’s schools haven’t been inspected in the last 10 years, including four on Arran and dozens in North Ayrshire.

Education Scotland’s school inspections aim to ensure that schools continue to meet a high standard of learning and teaching and are considered valuable by many parents and teachers.

However, despite Education Scotland increasing its school inspection target to 250 schools per year in 2018, that figure has not often been reached. Naturally, inspection figures were also effected by the pandemic from 2020 onward.

Mr Greene said: ‘The fact that dozens of schools haven’t been inspected for so long will be seriously concerning for parents and it’s a serious dereliction of duty by this government.

‘Education Scotland inspections are there to support schools and help them be the best they can, so its beggars belief that some haven’t been inspected for over 15 years.

‘Given that the pandemic has had a huge impact on attainment, this should be a top priority for the government but instead it’s obsessing over constitutional matters and blaming others for its failures.

‘Ministers have also admitted that Education Scotland isn’t fit for purpose, but what are they actually doing about it?

‘Instead, our hard-working teachers and schools are being hammered by budget cuts and not properly supported by the government and its inspectorate.

‘We need the inspections programme to restart urgently to get on top of this growing backlog, and we need an independent inspectorate to carry out school assessments, to ensure transparency and trust.’

The FOI request revealed that Brodick primary was last inspected in 2014, Lamlash in 2015, Whiting Bay in 2017, and that Arran High School had last been inspected in 2020.

An Education Scotland spokesperson said: ‘In Scotland schools are inspected on a proportionate basis, using a sampling approach rather than a cyclical model. The criteria used to select schools includes the type of school, deprivation, balance across local authorities as well as other factors including local circumstances.’