Understanding inspection and review

The inspection process aims to promote improvement and successful innovation that enhances learners' experiences in schools and early learning and childcare (ELC) settings.

To support improvement, Education Scotland's Inspectors focus on the quality of children's and young people's learning and achievement. They have a particular interest in how the school is developing children's skills and understanding in literacy, numeracy, health and wellbeing.

What happens in an inspection?

The purpose of an inspection is to find out how well your child is being educated and looked after. Your child's school or ELC will be visited by inspectors from Education Scotland (and Care Inspectorate, if there is early learning and childcare).

During the visit, inspectors will usually visit classrooms and/or playrooms, observe learning and talk to staff and children about their learning. They may look at children's work and read reports of children's progress.

Gathering the views of parents is an important part of the inspection of a school or ELC. You may be asked to fill in a questionnaire about the school or ELC and/or join a group to give your views to a member of the inspection team. Your views are carefully considered as part of the evidence during an inspection.

After an inspection a letter is sent to the local authority and the ELC setting or school for parents. This letter highlights what the ELC setting or school does well and where it needs to improve.

It will answer the following questions:

  • How well do children learn and achieve?
  • How well does the centre or school support children to develop and learn?
  • How well does the school improve the quality of its work?

You can find Education Scotland’s letters to parents and summaries of inspection findings on our website . There are also links to inspection information on each school’s page on Parentzone Scotland. Inspection information is kept on the website for 5 years following each inspection.

Related links

New-look letter for parents - Parents and carers will see a new, more concise letter published following school inspections as part of changes to the inspection process.