Education Scotland and HM Inspectors (HMIE) no longer operate a cycle of inspection of the education functions of local authorities but use a more proportionate approach to evaluating and reporting on these functions.

Validated Self Evaluation (VSE) is a voluntary process which aims to support and challenge the work of education authorities to improve the quality of provision and outcomes for learners. 

Find out more about VSE on the Education Scotland website.

VSE in West Dunbartonshire

West Dunbartonshire Educational Services went through the VSE process with HMIE during early 2014. Joint evaluation teams look at specific areas within Educational Services. The teams focused on provision at present, including highlighting good practice and identifying areas for improvement.

It was agreed with HMIE that the programme for VSE during January 2014 would form groups (theme groups) to focus on the following four themes:

  • Health and wellbeing

  • Raising attainment and achievement

  • Transitions

  • Vale of Leven Learning community joint evaluation (with CLD)

The themes selected each reflect work ongoing to improve the life chances of children and young people in West Dunbartonshire.

The VSE process

In the initial stages of VSE, HMIE Inspectors worked with each theme group to support group members in a range of self-evaluation activities. 

After this process the senior management team and the theme group chairs met with HMIE to take stock of the initial findings of the VSE. This meeting considered and tested the findings of the VSE so far, the learning that had taken place and the rigour and robustness of the process.


HMIE and Educational Services produced a joint report to highlight key strengths and areas for improvement. 

Our key strengths:

  • partnership working
  • strong relationships showing trust and respect
  • commitment of staff, communities and elected members to improving outcomes for children
  • openness to robust self-evaluation to bring about improvement
  • workforce development opportunities

Our areas for improvement:

  • consistency
  • effective communication at all levels
  • instil a common agenda across the service
  • ensure that our new structure delivers the corporate and departmental priorities at a time of financial challenge.

To access the VSE reports please follow the links below:

HMIE said "The Education Scotland team of HM Inspectors and Associate Assessors are confident that the overall quality of West Dunbartonshire Council's self-evaluation is accurate and robust."