SQA overhaul needed to win back teacher's trust

Scottish Liberal Democrat Education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart has today called for an overhaul of SQA bureaucracy after the Scottish Parliament's education committee took evidence from the authors of a review of the 2020 exams process. 

Following questioning from Ms Wishart, Professor Mark Priestley told the committee that the SQA saw their role as putting in place a “technical solution” for assessment following cancellation of exams but that subsequent problems with pupils being unfairly downgraded could have been avoided had there been greater engagement with education stakeholders.

Mr Priestly said: “in the exceptional circumstances of this year, we believe that a more collaborative decision-making approach to co-construct a system would have been more effective and would have been more equitable. Simply because it would have been owned by the profession more it would have mitigated a lot more of the subsequent criticism that came,”

Dr Marina Shapira added that “organisational culture” needed to change to make progress in the future.”

In October Scottish Liberal Democrat leader Willie Rennie told the party's autumn conference that under Liberal Democrat proposals the SQA would be run by people with direct teaching experience.

Commenting after the exchange, Ms Wishart said:

“It’s clear from evidence gathered by Professor Priestly and his team that teachers have little confidence in the SQA after the exams shambles. The chaos could have been avoided had the SQA engaged properly with the teaching profession.

“The organisation is too far detached from the impacts of its decisions. To rebuild trust and make sure the same mistakes are not made in the future, we need root and branch reform of the SQA so that it is run by people with direct teaching experience.”

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