Figures released by the Scottish Government have revealed that more than 70 primary schools across Courier country have not been inspected in at least a decade.
A freedom of information (FOI) request published by the government showed there were 74 primary schools across Angus, Dundee, Fife and Perth and Kinross which had not been visited by HM Inspectors of Education since 2010 at the earliest.
This makes up approximately 12% of the total number of primary schools across Scotland which have not been inspected by officials in at least a decade.
The FOI categorised the number of schools by council area and broke them down by ward. However, the individual schools in the area were not named.
Inspections are carried out by Education Scotland, a Scottish Government executive agency, which operates independently and impartially but is directly accountable to government ministers for the standards of their work.
Figures included in the FOI revealed that across Dundee city, there are six primary schools that have not had an inspection since 2010 at the earliest.
The Strathmartine ward had the highest number of schools in this position, with figures showing two schools in this area were last inspected by officials at least ten years ago.
The East End and Lochee wards, as well as the North East and West End constituencies made up the other four areas which had a school with no inspection carried out over the past decade.
However, West End councillor Fraser Macpherson wanted to reassure parents, highlighting that the local authority conducts their own reviews in schools between inspections.
He said: “I feel that there needs to be not an overly long time between inspections but I would say that Dundee City Council does conduct reviews of schools from within the education directorate.
“So not only does this ensure that a review does take place between inspections but it also helps schools in their preparation for when one does take place.
“This approach in Dundee has been a very sensible one and having the internal reviews ensures that schools are subject to regular inspections.”
The FOI also revealed there are 17 schools in the Angus council area which have not been visited by inspectors from Education Scotland in the period since 2010.
The Arbroath East and Lunan ward is home to four school in this position, the most across the Angus region.
This area was closely followed by the Arbroath West, Letham and Friockheim, Forfar and District, Kirriemuir and Dean and Montrose and District wards; all of which had three schools which had gone at leat 10 years without a formal check.
Education Scotland has significantly strengthened its scrutiny functions and increased the number of school inspections it carried out.
Education Scotland Spokesperson
The Monifieth and Sidlaw ward completed the list, with one school in this region having no inspection since 2010.
Councillor Derek Wann, who represents the Arbroath East and Lunan ward and also acts as the children and learning convener at the council, highlighted that it was the prerogative of Education Scotland to decide when schools would be inspected.
He said: “It is entirely up the inspectorate to come out and look at the schools, it’s not up to Angus Council to decide that.
“We would welcome an inspection from the inspectorate at any time though and that’s up to them when they turn up.”
A spokesman for Angus Council added: “We engage in all HMIE school inspections and very much welcome these visits as they assist in validating our own school improvement work.”
The FOI showed that a total of 34 primary schools in the Fife council area have had no formal check since at least 2010.
The West Fife & Coastal Villages and Lochgelly, Cardenden & Benarty wards had highest number of primary schools who were in this position, with four each.
Speaking earlier this month, Fife Liberal Democrat education spokesperson councillor James Calder claimed the figures show that the education secretary was “failing Fife schools.”
He said: “While I know that Fife Council has procedures to monitor school performance, school inspections play an important role in ensuring excellence in our schools.
“It appears as though Education Scotland has been failing Fife schools again, with 46 schools and nurseries across Fife having not been inspected in over a decade.
“The Education Secretary needs to get on top of this once we have passed the current crisis and work to ensure that our inspection system both catches up with this and also is able to maintain a more consistent approach in the future.”
Perth and Kinross
Out of the 12 council ward areas in Perth and Kinross, nine had at least one school waiting 10 years or more for an inspection.
The figures showed there were 17 primary schools in total across the region that were listed as having not been inspected for at least a decade.
The Strathmore ward had four schools waiting at least 10 years for an inspection, making it the highest in the council area.
Across Scotland as a whole, there are 604 primary schools that have not been inspected in 10 years or more. This amounts to almost one in every three of the 2,012 primary schools in Scotland.
The Highlands is the local authority area with the highest number, with 64 falling into this category.
Aberdeenshire Council follows in second place, with 53 schools having had no inspection in at least a decade. It was also revealed that one school in this council area had not been visited by inspectors for 16 years.
Clackmannanshire council had the lowest number of schools who had gone without an inspection in that past decade, with only two schools in this region having had no formal check in the last 10 years.
In response to the figures revealed in the FOI, an Education Scotland spokesperson said: “Education Scotland has significantly strengthened its scrutiny functions and increased the number of school inspections it carried out.
“In the last academic year (2018/19), Education Scotland completed 252 school inspections, an increase of over 30% on the previous year.
“Schools are selected for inspection each year on a proportionate basis, using a sampling approach and predetermined set criteria rather than a cyclical approach.”