1. In 2019, the UK Government’s Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills (Ofsted) updated its school inspection framework and began, as part of any inspection visit, to ask inspected schools in England to submit records and analysis of sexual harassment and violence (this includes peer-on-peer/pupil-onpupil incidents such as sexist name calling, unauthorised sharing of videos/images online and sexual assault).
Does Education Scotland’s school inspection framework include such a process/requirement as part of the information it obtains from schools undergoing inspection?
2. If such a process (i.e. asking schools undergoing inspection to submit records and analysis of sexual harassment and violence, including online incidents) is included within Education Scotland’s school inspection framework, in what year was the school inspection framework updated to include such a process and in what year was this change put into practical effect? If there is no such process within the existing school inspection framework, why is this and are there plans to develop such a process?
3. If Education Scotland’s school inspection framework does include a requirement for schools undergoing inspection to provide records/analysis of sexual harassment and violence (including online incidents), I would be grateful if you could confirm the number and percentage of inspected Scottish schools that have, since the framework was updated (and the change put into practical effect), provided this information (i.e. records/analysis of sexual harassment and violence, including online incidents) as part of Education Scotland’s school inspection process.
4. If possible, please also confirm the number and percentage of those inspected Scottish schools that have not, since any update to Education Scotland’s inspection framework, provided the requested records and analysis of sexual harassment and violence (including online incidents), together with a breakdown of whether this was because those inspected schools had not recorded any cases of sexual harassment and violence (including online incidents), or because they had simply not responded to the request from inspectors. What sort of follow-up activity does Education Scotland carry out with inspected schools that do not provide this information?
5. Regarding requests in questions 3 and 4 for the number and percentage of schools undergoing inspection that have, or have not, provided records/analysis of sexual harassment and violence (including online incidents), I would be grateful if the respective numbers and percentages could be broken down further according to whether the figures relate to primary or secondary schools in Scotland.
6. Finally, if Education Scotland does not currently operate an inspection process or provision that is directly equivalent to Ofsted’s, please outline the scope, terms and operation of any distinctive process/provision it does have in place for monitoring/assessing an inspected school’s records and analysis of sexual harassment and violence (including online incidents). It would be good if this could also outline arrangements for follow-up activity with inspected schools when it is felt not enough is being done to obtain an accurate picture of the problem in and around those schools. If possible, please also provide any data comparable to that requested in questions 3 and 4.
You asked if Education Scotland’s school inspection framework asks schools during inspection to submit reports and analysis of sexual harassment and violence. HM Inspectors of Education use a set of standards to evaluate and report on quality and improvement in Scottish education. The standards are set out in a series of quality frameworks. Each framework includes a set of quality indicators (QIs) which HM Inspectors use to make professional evaluations. When inspecting schools HM Inspectors use a selection of quality indicators from the quality framework “How good is our school?” (4th edition) (2015). In all inspections HM Inspectors evaluate the theme: “arrangements for safeguarding, including child protection” contained within QI 2.1 Safeguarding and child protection.
We do not request separate records that are specifically related to sexual harassment and violence. As part of Education Scotland’s approach to inspection, all schools are required to make all documents and records related to bullying, complaints and serious incidents available to HM Inspectors during the inspection. During the inspection, a member of the inspection team will discuss this information with relevant staff and, where appropriate, children and young people. In addition, HM Inspectors examine a sample of safeguarding documentation, including records of bullying, complaints and serious incidents. Any areas for development are recorded in the child protection and safeguarding form and discussed with the school. Inspection activity has always included scrutiny of records and documents related to bullying, complaints and serious incidents.
As mentioned above, Education Scotland’s inspection framework does not include a requirement for schools that are being inspected to provide separate records/analysis of incidents that are specifically related to sexual harassment and violence. Schools are asked to provide records/analysis of all bullying, complaints and serious incidents. We are considering whether we undertake further analysis of the information we receive related to safeguarding, which may include sexual harassment and violence.
Should HM Inspectors find important weaknesses in the school’s safeguarding approaches, including approaches to how the school has dealt with incidents of sexual harassment and violence, HM Inspectors will return within a specified time to further evaluate approaches and determine if the school has made improvements.
While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance Education Scotland does not have the information or data you have requested at Q4 and Q5, therefore this is exempt under section 17(1) of FOISA.
The Scottish Government is committed to publishing all information released in response to Freedom of Information requests. View all FOI responses at http://www.gov.scot/foi-responses.
Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000
The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
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