Wishart calls for SQA to refund exam tax

In response to reports that schools have had to pay the SQA almost £18 million more than was required to provide the exams service this year, Scottish Liberal Democrat education spokesperson Beatrice Wishart MSP has condemned the “exams tax”, and called for a refund.

Reports by TES Scotland revealed that the “alternative certification model” (ACM), which replaced the exams, has cost the SQA £7 million, which is £17.5 million less than the sum gathered through the annual levy paid by schools to the SQA for their service.

Commenting, Ms Wishart said:

“Schools shouldn’t have had to pay an exams tax to the SQA this year. They’ve had almost nothing in return. A refund is surely now in order, and I will be writing to the Education Secretary to make that clear.

“This rubs salt in the wound for the many teachers who have dealt with skyrocketing workloads as they’ve been left to patch the gaps in the SQA’s plan for exams this year.

"The SQA has proven itself to be out of touch and underhanded. Meanwhile ministers have colluded to allow the second exams scandal in two years take place.

“Reform can’t come soon enough. Teachers should be able to set the direction of the organisations at the top of Scottish education. Children and young people must be involved, listened to and respected. There has to be real reform for the recovery.”


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