You asked for the legislation which underpins inspection due to raising health and safety failings at a school and unsure as to where the responsibility lies specifically:
- Where does it state that HM Inspectors can’t get involved? Is there a piece of legislation which prevents this or a "made up rule"?
- Please provide the evidence which blocks HM Inspectors from getting involved with a serious health & safety / safeguarding concern.
Where does it state that HM Inspectors can’t get involved? Is there a piece of legislation which prevents this or a "made up rule"?
Responsibility for the quality of education delivery rests with the relevant local authority. As defined in section 1(1) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980, “it shall be the duty of every education authority to secure that there is made for their area adequate and efficient provision of school education and further education.”
HM Inspectors’ powers to inspect educational establishments and services are also set out in legislation and are referred to in various places as “Her Majesty’s inspectors” as defined in section 135(1) of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980 to mean “the inspectors of schools appointed by Her Majesty” housed within Education Scotland. Where legislation refers to “Her Majesty’s inspectors”, Education Scotland is responsible and accountable for the fulfilment of the duties imposed on HM Inspectors.
This legislation does not give HM Inspectors the power to investigate complaints against schools. HM Inspectors’ powers are limited to the statutory functions of inspection conferred on them by Part III of the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.
The powers Scottish Ministers have to enforce duty of education authorities are also set out in the Education (Scotland) Act 1980.
Please provide the evidence which blocks HM Inspectors from getting involved with a serious health & safety / safeguarding concern.
Education Scotland does not have legislative responsibility to investigate Child Protection concerns. The legislative responsibility lies with the local authority.
There is a range of legislation which outlines this responsibility:
- Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014
- Children (Scotland) Act 1995
- Community Empowerment (Scotland) Act 2015
- Education (ASL) (Scotland) Act 2004
However Child Protection guidance 2021 states that ’Everyone has a role in protecting children from harm’. This is written into Education Scotland’s policy also and all staff are required to undertake mandatory Child Protection training.
It is therefore our responsibility to share concerns with the local authority as soon as possible in order that they can carry out their legislative responsibility to investigate.
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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