An evaluation of education in East Lothian has concluded that there is a strong culture of improvement and accountability and a clear vision for curriculum development in the county.

Working collaboratively... means that we can achieve better outcomes for all our learners.

The Association of Directors of Education Scotland (ADES), Education Scotland (ES) and members of the council’s Education Service undertook a three-day Collaborative Improvement visit which aimed to create a summary of strengths and areas for future action. The group carried out focus groups, held meetings and reviewed documents to determine how well East Lothian’s approach to self-improving schools is working.

Collaboration, improvement and accountability

The evaluation found a strong culture of collaboration, improvement and accountability as well as support and clear direction from the local authority regarding local and national education priorities. A clear vision for curriculum development was underpinned by shared values and schools had the autonomy to find local solutions. Locality teams based in schools were highlighted as having the potential to be highly effective model to improve learner outcomes while the Single Point of Access for Mental Health support supports effective collaboration alongside use of data and pupil voice. 

The review found that the council had been working towards a self-improving schools system – where schools use data and moderation to continually assess their progress and improvements – since 2019. Significant progress has been made and the review group felt it was an important time to take stock, evaluate progress and define next steps. The final report from the visit recommended that the tracking and monitoring of attainment data was further strengthened to continue to secure progress and that there should be more opportunities for middle leaders, teachers and support staff to collaborate. The review was discussed at a meeting of East Lothian Council’s Education Committee today (18 June 2024).

Making a difference

East Lothian Council’s Head of Education Nicola McDowell said: “We are continually looking for ways that we can focus our resources to where we can make the biggest difference for our children and young people. This has to be lead across our East Lothian with every school and member of staff playing their part.

“Self-evaluation is an important tool for schools as it allows them to closely monitor progress, identify areas of focus and build on successes throughout the year. Working collaboratively with our central team, our school groups and with our partners means that we can achieve better outcomes for all our learners.

“This review was an opportunity to check our processes and potential. I am very pleased with the areas of strength that were identified and we are already working with our schools and central education team to take forward the suggested next steps.”

Read the review

Published: Tuesday, 18th June 2024