Independent One Year External Review Hails e-Sgoil as Success

Members of Comhairle nan Eilean Siar’s Education, Sport and Children’s Services will tomorrow, Tuesday 26th September, be asked to note an independent external review of the first year of the transformational change programme in Education and Children's Services in the Western Isles, which has detailed the success of e-Sgoil.

The first year of operation was designated a ‘Proof of Concept Year’. However, due to demands on the programme internally and externally it has, in effect, been fully operational all year.

The review stated: “It is very commendable how the leadership team at the Comhairle have looked for opportunities to test the e-Sgoil platform during the setup year, but also their active desire to help other authorities and schools in difficult situations has been impressive. Some highlights have included; the partnership with Aberdeen City Council and Hazlehead Academy for the delivery of a Gàidhlig course thereby ensuring the continued opportunity for the pupils in the face of a staffing shortage; the links with Bishopbriggs Academy in East Dunbartonshire, again addressing a staff shortage for a three month period; the RMPS higher course delivered from the Nicolson Institute to Sir E Scott school in Harris. These and other examples have not only proved the platform can work but also has provided very positive feedback.

"One particularly innovative approach within the Comhairle, has been the use of e-Sgoil for professional development purposes within Education and Children's services. This innovative thinking has demonstrated the potential for the delivery of training to larger groups in a number of locations across the Western Isles. Bearing in mind travel time and associated costs, this may well prove to be a highly effective use that can be replicated in other Comhairle and local partner services, as well as elsewhere in Scotland.

The Report concluded that “e-Sgoil has the potential to place the Western Isles at the centre of national policy development and associated transformational change, and in so doing, be a key part of what education in Scotland does to enhance opportunities for all learners and educators - no matter their location."