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Throughout his career, Graham Donaldson has played a central part in Scottish educational development, both in policy and in practice. He led Her Majesty’s Inspectorate of Education through major structural reform as it became an executive agency of the Scottish Government. He also radically reformed the approach to inspection, combining clear accountability with self-evaluation and capacity building. In addition to advising Ministers across education policy, he personally took a leading role in a number of major reform programmes and was influential in the development of the Scottish Government’s curriculum reform programme, Curriculum for Excellence.​

Following his retirement from HMIE he was asked by the government to undertake a personal review of teacher education in Scotland. His report ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’, published in 2011, made 50 recommendations which have all been accepted by the government and a major implementation programme is now under way.  Graham continues to support developments in teacher education and is Professional Adviser to the Government's National Implementation Board.The report has also aroused considerable interest internationally. 

Graham has lectured extensively, working as an international expert for OECD, advising governments and NGOs, and leading SICI (Standing International Conference of Inspectorates), as President. 

Graham  currently works part-time at the University of Glasgow as a Professor in the Robert Owen Centre for Educational Change.

Graham was made a Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) by the Queen in 2010.

Key Dates
1969                   MA (Hons) in History and Politics Glasgow University
1970                    Diploma in Education
1970 - 1975         Teacher and head of department
1974                    Master of Education (MEd) Degree
1975 -1983          Lecturer in Educational Psychology Jordanhill College of Education/Strathclyde University – curriculum evaluator for                                   Consultative Committee on the Curriculum
1981                    Seconded to British Petroleum and published report ‘Industry and Scottish Schools’
1983 - 1990         HM Inspector of Schools
1990 - 1996         HM Chief Inspector of Education
1996 - 2002        HM Depute Senior Chief Inspector
2002 - 2010
HM Senior Chief Inspector of Education/Chief Professional Advisor to Scottish Government

2003                   Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts

2008 - 2013        President Standing International Conference of Inspectorates (SICI)
2009                    Awarded Companion of the Order of the Bath (CB) by the Queen
2010                    International expert on OECD Review of Australian education
2011                    International expert on OECD Review of Portuguese education
2010 - 2011         Undertook national review of teacher education and published report ‘Teaching Scotland’s Future’ whose 50                                               recommendations were accepted by government
2011                    Member of National Review of Teachers’ Salaries and Conditions of Service
2011 - date          Member of the Royal Society of Edinburgh Education Committee
2011 - date          Director of the Goodison Group in Scotland
2012 - date          Professional Advisor to Scottish Government’s National Implementation Board for the reform of teacher education
2013                    Keynote address at Irish EU Presidency Conference March 2013
2013                    Keynote address at OECD launch conference for report on Evaluation and Assessment in Oslo
2011 - date          Professor (part-time) University of Glasgow

2011 – 2012        Adviser to ‘Open Society Foundations’ on their review of teacher education in the Balkans

2012 – date         Professional adviser Tapestry Education

2014 - date          Independent review of national curriculum and assessment arrangements in Wales

2014  - 15            International expert on the review of education in Sweden for OECD


International Activities

Graham has lectured extensively across the world including: Argentina (for UNICEF); Bosnia; Croatia; Czech Republic; Denmark; England; France; Germany; Hong Kong; Ireland; Indonesia; Italy; Lithuania; Montenegro; Netherlands; Norway; Poland; Portugal; Rumania; Russia; Serbia; South Africa; Thailand; Wales; Sweden; and Switzerland.

He is an OECD International Expert and have participated in reviews of Australian, Portuguese and Swedish education which have led to published reports.

He has represented UK at EU Presidency meetings in Portugal and Slovenia.

As President of SICI, he chaired the Executive Committee, provided strategic direction and represented the organisation internationally.

He acted as an adviser on a review of teaching standards in 5 Balkan countries being undertaken by ‘Open Society Foundations’ 


Career History

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