Scottish Liberal Democrats will on Wednesday ask Parliament to vote to break up Education Scotland and radically reform the SQA because they have lost the confidence of teachers, pupils and parents and have let them down throughout the pandemic.
Four years ago, SNP and Green MSPs votes blocked Parliament from issuing a definitive call for the overhaul of Education Scotland and the SQA, allowing both failing organisations to drift into the pandemic unreformed.
Now Scottish Liberal Democrats are returning again to:
- ask Parliament to agree that neither organisation is "fit for purpose"
- state that Education Scotland should be separated into independent inspection and policy functions
- reform the SQA so it is grounded in the teaching profession and made more accountable
- and to express concern at revelations unearthed through Scottish Liberal Democrat research, showing that the Scottish Government and its quangos are spending months “providing comments” on multiple drafts of the ongoing OECD review, supposedly set up to be an independent analysis of Scottish education.
Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie commented:
"Education Scotland and the SQA's days are numbered. They have let hardworking teachers, pupils and parents down throughout this pandemic.
"At a time of disruption and worry, instead of making peoples' jobs and lives easier, they have made them harder.
"Despite months of warnings, the SQA and John Swinney teamed up to create an exams system and algorithm that actively penalised pupils from the poorest backgrounds.
"After Education Scotland previously gave teachers 20,000 pages of guidance on Curriculum for Excellence, during this pandemic they have gone to the other end of the scale and been totally absent when people needed them.
"Both of the Scottish Government's education quangos have lost the confidence of those who they are supposed to serve and have repeatedly shown that they are not fit for purpose.
"Scottish Liberal Democrats will this week ask Parliament to overhaul them as an essential part of the recovery of education. Education Scotland and the SQA cannot be trusted with the critical job of helping the education system bounce back."
Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP added:
"There is a conflict of interest in the very foundations of Education Scotland. As both the inspector and policy setter, it has been marking its own homework for years.
"This week Scottish Liberal Democrats uncovered it is also marking the homework of the OECD. Along with the Scottish Government and the SQA, they are already editing a report that was supposed to put their performance under the microscope.
"They have been self-serving, remote and unaccountable for too long."