The EIS has criticised the planned return of ‘scrutiny activity’ inspections, the detail of which was published on the Education Scotland website.

School inspections were paused last year as a consequence of the Covid pandemic, to enable a greater focus in schools on supporting education recovery.

Commenting ahead of a meeting of the national EIS Council, EIS General Secretary Larry Flanagan said, “This move shows Education Scotland and the Scottish Government to be deeply out of touch with the reality that schools are currently facing amidst record levels of pupil and teacher Covid-related absence and therefore significant ongoing disruption.

“Rather than inspecting schools, Education Scotland’s efforts should be channelled firmly in the direction of supporting schools as they continue to respond to the Covid crisis, maintaining education provision for young people in very difficult circumstances.

“This kind of approach will detract attention from the priority at hand and will contribute little or nothing to what should be the immediate endeavour of the education system – that is recovery that places the wellbeing of young people and teachers at the heart.

“HMIE inspections are of limited value in supporting learning and teaching at the best of times; to seek to reintroduce them in the midst of a global pandemic is somewhat nonsensical and is reminiscent of the very ill-judged approach South of the Border.

“We expect better of the Scottish Government, especially given the commitment to act on the recommendation of the OECD, to remove the inspection function from Education Scotland in the interests of providing better support to schools.

“This is a retrograde step and one which suggests that the Scottish Government is not listening to the concerns and needs of the teaching profession as it continues to fight the impact of the pandemic.”