Principles of inspection and review

Each year, we inspect and report on the quality of education in a sample of early years and childcare settings, primary schools, secondary schools, special schools, all-through schools, community learning and development services, colleges, and residential educational provision. We also inspect the education functions of local authorities.

This document tells you about the principles to which we are committed to.  The principles have been developed in the context of Scottish Government policy on scrutiny improvement and in line with the UK Cabinet Office principles for inspection bodies and for better regulation.

The ten principles provide a key point of reference to inform the development of any new approaches to inspection or the review. They are:

  1. Independence, impartiality and accountability
  2. Having all learners or users at the heart of inspection and review
  3. Equality and diversity
  4. Transparency and mutual respect
  5. Observing practice and experiences directly: focusing on outcomes and impact
  6. Building on self-evaluation
  7. Partnership working with the users of our services and other providers/scrutiny bodies
  8. Improvement and capacity building
  9. Proportionality, responsiveness and assessment of risk
  10. Best value

Beneath this set of principles, HM Inspectors will develop and maintain a set of more specific inspection and review guidance, which describes how we work in particular sectors or areas of provision. These show how our general inspection and review principles are being put into practice in the particular sector/area concerned. The full set of inspection and review frameworks will be placed in the relevant sector/area sections of the Education Scotland website as they become available. We have in place a range of mechanisms by which we evaluate and monitor our performance against these ten principles of inspection and review.

Author HM Inspectors, Education Scotland
Download materialPDF file: Principles of Inspection and Review 2010 (333 KB)
Publisher Education Scotland

Key document

Important document supporting the inspection process including the most recent inspection advice notes.