Education Scotland today released one of the worst ever inspection reports on an education service. You can read it all at this link:
If you want to see the summary assessment only, ie their assessment against the quality criteria, it’s as follows:
Earlier today, the acting executive director covering education issued a quite extraordinary rebuttal of the inspection report to councillors. This was issued before most of them would have read the report. (There will, of course, be many who might never get round to reading it, they are so lazy and disinterested.) Her rebuttal can be downloaded here: rebuttal
I have raised a number of questions both with Education Scotland and with the acting executive director and I’ll let you see these once I have answers. Meanwhile, Michael Russell MSP has issued a press release on this and it’s reproduced below. More to follow.
Argyll & Bute Education Management savaged in report from Her Majesty’s Inspectors. 4 out of 5 key indicators classed as “weak”
Commenting on today’s Education Scotland / HMI report on Argyll & Bute Council “s Management of Education, local MSP Michael Russell said: “This is a deeply worrying and very depressing inspection report.
It is one of the worst ever published about the educational management of a local authority in Scotland. The collapse in educational management that has been revealed today by Her Majesty’s Inspectors has major consequences for staff and pupils. There are many great teachers in Argyll & Bute and great Head Teachers too but they have been badly let down by their senior management and the extent of that failure is now clear to see.
The hidden cost of these failures lies in the strain on staff, increased sickness and absence and great frustration at not having the support they need to do their jobs and serve the young people, and the future, of this wonderful area to their , and their pupils, full potential.
The two questions that must therefore be addressed with urgency are , firstly, how the situation is to be remedied and secondly how it arose.
As far as the first is concerned it is clear that Education Scotland must exercise the closest supervision of the Council Education Department from now on and ensure that an improvement plan is brought forward with urgency which is detailed, well resourced and has the active support of the key stakeholders including the staff. Piecemeal and thoughtless cutting of education which has been a hallmark of the current Council administration and which is in part to blame needs to stop now.
Obviously leadership and effective management will be a key issue in making sure that any improvement plan works. However the judgement of the Inspectors is that current leadership at the most senior level is “weak”. It is therefore at the very least questionable that the current educational key leaders in the Council’s Senior Management team including the Chief Executive (who was previously the Executive Director of Community Services overseeing Education ) are the right people to take forward the urgent and far reaching improvements that are needed.
These problems have been made worse by the insistence by the previous Chief Executive and by the current Senior Management team on an excessive and rigidly enforced split between policy and operational management. That split has diminished effective scrutiny from elected councillors which might have avoided , at least in part, a situation where four out of the five key educational management indicators in the report are graded as “weak”.
However councillors cannot escape some share of responsibility and in particular those who were , supposedly, overseeing Education in the present Administration including the current Deputy Leader of the Council Ellen Morton, and the current Education spokesperson Cllr Rory Colville. They should be considering their positions as they read this damning report as should the Council Leader, Dick Walsh. These failures have happened on his watch.
This report is a wake up call for not just for education but for the entire lack lustre administration of Argyll & Bute Council. But it is also a clarion call for change which can – and must – come at the local elections on the 4th of May. Today’s inspection report demonstrates that without that change our children, our area and our future will be at grave and growing risk. “