Education Reform Inspectorate and Agency Delivery Board minutes: October 2022

Minutes from the meeting of the group on 13 October 2022.

This document is part of a collection

Attendees and apologies


  • Gillian Hamilton (Chair)
  • Patricia Watson
  • Sean Stronach
  • Greg Dempster
  • Tracy Reily
  • Janie McManus
  • Magnus Hughson
  • Maureen Hamilton
  • Harold Hislop
  • Andrea Bradley
  • Lesley Whelan
  • Les Byle (PMO)


  • Ken McAra
  • Laurence Findlay
  • Frances Douglas
  • Kerrie Laird

Items and actions

Welcome and apologies 

GH opened the meeting and extended a warm welcome to attendees. Apologies were noted as above.

Minutes and actions from 1 September 2022 Delivery Board meeting

The minute of 1 September 2022 was agreed as accurate. No edits required.

Actions and decisions Log

A brief update was provided in relation to the actions and decisions log.

TR advised that AP12 can now be marked as complete.

With regards to actions AP07 and AP08, GH advised that the minute of the Strategic Programme Board as well as those of the Delivery Boards, will be published on the Scottish Government website following formal sign off.

Risk register

A brief update was provided in relation to the risk register. No updates required at this time.

Update on wider Reform work

GH provided an update on wider work that may be of interest to Delivery Board members.

The External Stakeholder Reference Group

Members noted that the Curriculum and Assessment Board (CAB) has been extended to incorporate the External Stakeholder Reference Group for Education Reform. The first half of the meeting will be the External Stakeholder Reference Group, chaired by the Cabinet Secretary, and following this, the second part will be the CAB meeting, co-chaired by Gayle Gorman and Clare Hicks.

The first meeting of this External Stakeholder Reference Group took place on 28 September 2022. Some of the points discussed included:

  • reiteration of the fact that there is no teacher voice on the Strategic Programme Board
  • the importance of the voice of children and young people

GH noted that feedback regarding representation are being considered in relation to any final changes to membership of the different groups/boards.

GH noted that this Delivery Board (for the new education agency and the new inspectorate) does have teacher membership, provided by Kerrie Laird, who is head teacher of Glen Urquhart Primary School in Highland Council. In addition, Andrea Bradley, Greg Dempster and Laurence Findlay all have significant experience of leading, working with and supporting teachers and headteachers.

GH advised we will continue to review membership regularly, as set out in the terms of reference of this Delivery Board.

Strategic Programme Board

GH briefly updated members on the 27 September 2022 Strategic Programme Board.

GH advised that Clare Hicks provided an update on the high level messages following the recent Gateway Review. The review had been largely positive and noted the appropriate focus on implementing appropriate governance arrangements at this stage. However, it was important that the vision and values of the reform programme are central in the next phase of this work.

Action point – Gillian will share the Gateway Review report with Delivery Board members.

The new National Agency (NA) for Scottish Education

PW gave a brief overview of the progress being made on the commission for the new National Agency for Scottish Education. PW reminded members that she had shared a number of papers by correspondence on 23 September2022 and would still welcome any questions or feedback on those, or indeed the papers she has shared for this meeting.

This was followed by group discussion and feedback.

A concern was raised about the fact the timeline of parts (NA-6) of the work has been extended and it should be checked if it would still be possible to discuss the range of documents outlined in the commission at the 14 November 2022 meeting.

PW was able to reassure the group that documentation will be available for discussion at that meeting. PW highlighted the importance of recognising that the project team are working to develop options that would result in a brand new education agency for Scotland. The importance of this was emphasised and it was highlighted that the purpose and function of the new education agency would be a key focus of the discussions on 14 November 2022.

The challenges brought about by the chronology of all of the reform work was noted. The National Discussion and the Hayward review both need to inform the remit and purpose of all three new national organisations, and that this must be reflected both in Programme planning and communications. 

It will also be important to look at the synergies between the new organisations and how we avoid duplication, and the importance of ensuring that there are strong relationships as well as clarity on the functions/roles/responsibilities of the new organisations.

The group was advised that consideration is being given to what additional resource might be needed in order to meet the tight timescales that we are facing, bearing in mind the very tight fiscal constraints within which the organisation was operating. 

New Inspectorate (NI) update

JMc gave an overview of the progress being made on the commission for the new inspectorate, covering a range of papers and presentations looking across Deliverables 1, 2, 3 and 4 (all papers available on the meeting agenda).
This was followed by group discussion and feedback. Feedback on each Deliverable is summarised below. 

Deliverable 1

A concern was raised that the timeline (for NI-6) has been extended. JMc was able to reassure the group that there will be an opportunity to discuss the range of documentation, outlined in the commission, at the meeting on 14 November 2022 as previously discussed.

A comment was made on the sections covering ‘Principles’, suggesting that the design and reframing of the new inspectorate, must demonstrate increased connectedness with the profession, particularly those working directly with children and young people. It was also noted that the documentation was currently silent on the relationship with the profession, and that this should be strengthened in the next iterations. 

A point was also raised in relation to Risk 4 under the ‘New Independent Inspectorate: Key Risks’ section, saying that this risk needs to be more expansive than it currently reads. This was noted.

Deliverable 2

A number of questions were raised in relation to the different Boards operating within Education Scotland (ES) e.g. the Oversight Board, Advisory Board etc. GH recognised that additional background information regarding Education Scotland’s current governance models would be helpful, particularly for external Board members. 

Action point – PMO will share information on the function of each of the internal ES Boards.

JMc was able to confirm that both project teams have this week received the additional analysis of Ken Muir’s consultation responses from Scottish Government.

The need to consider the extent to which a new inspectorate would have the capacity to influence schools by their level of engagement was highlighted– what would and could be different given that the Inspectorate is currently operating within the context of an integrated organisation. It was also noted the importance of reach – that a new inspectorate is able to achieve what it sets out to do, and how this will interplay with other national organisations. The need to consider possible governance models was also highlighted.

It was noted that there was a need for clarity regarding philosophy of inspection for the new inspectorate, to ensure that it genuinely delivered on the objectives of assurance and improvement on a system wide basis. Two potential options were highlighted. The first of those focused on the ability to increase the number of annual school inspections so that inspections took place more frequently than is currently the case. This may necessitate a larger workforce and therefore an increase in budget. The second was to focus inspection on those tasked with supporting and developing schools. It was recognised that the each philosophy would result in a very different target operating model. 

Deliverable 3

In relation to stakeholders and users, it was noted that HMI (Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education) are acting as advocates for learners. However, there were some concerns about how the particular wording is framed within the presentation and it was flagged that some of the language could be considered a deficit approach (paper 7.6, slide 3).  

It was noted that we must be clear in communications the rationale for a new and separate inspectorate, and why and how it will be different to the new education agency. 

Deliverable 4

On the different ‘personas’ being developed, the need for the development of further personas, including a headteacher and a local authority persona was highlighted. Following on from the earlier discussion on philosophies of inspection, it was highlighted that these may require additional personas to be developed. 

It was noted that the EIS (Educational Institute of Scotland) would be happy to work with JMc to further develop the practitioner personas.

The enormous amount of time and effort (of both project teams) that has gone into getting the work to this stage was recognised by group members.

Action point – both project teams to take account of feedback and include in next iteration of project documentation.

Communications and engagements update

GH provided a short update on communications and engagement. External communications and stakeholder engagement at programme level, was being led by SG Communications, with input from ES and SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority). A workshop to further develop this approach was taking place the following week.

Delivery Board members highlighted the need for coherent and timely messaging to external stakeholders.

Action point – Janie and Patricia to meet each external member of the Delivery Board to follow up on discussion from the 13 October 2022 board meeting.

Next meeting

The next meeting is scheduled for the 14 November 2022. It is hoped as many members as possible will be able to attend this in-person meeting. It was noted that all future meeting times should be extended to a minimum of two hours.

GH noted that the next Strategic Programme Board meets on 8 November 2022. The meeting after that, on 13 December 2022, will be an in-person meeting.

Any other business

The importance of having an understanding of the budget available to take the work forward and know if what is being discussed is affordable was stressed. Any clarity on this would be very useful.

GH thanked everyone for their time and contribution before bringing the meeting to a close.

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