“This report is a damning judgement of Scotland’s exams system and the body which oversees it, so the news that the SQA is effectively being abolished is certainly welcome. As we already knew, the principles of Curriculum for Excellence are sound, but it is near impossible for teachers to deliver in S4-6, because they are stuck teaching to a century-old assessment system instead. It’s a failure of government that the exams system was left largely untouched when the new curriculum was introduced a decade ago. As a result, completely unnecessary barriers have been put in the way of hundreds of thousands of pupils.
“Replacing failed agencies won’t automatically solve this problem though. These changes must go hand in hand with reform of the exams system itself, moving away from the antiquated high-stakes end of term exam model and towards systems of ongoing assessment which judge a pupil’s knowledge and abilities with far more accuracy. The Greens secured a further OECD review of the exams system for exactly this reason and look forward to its publication in the autumn.
“Scottish teachers work some of the highest classroom hours in the developed world, leaving too little time for planning and preparation of quality lessons. Reducing the frankly ridiculous number of tick-box paperwork exercises teachers are expected to complete and scrapping the P1-S3 standardised testing system would go some way to reducing teacher workload. However, the only way to make the significant change the OECD say is needed is to recruit thousands of additional teachers. The Scottish Greens believe something in the region of five and a half thousand additional full-time posts are required and can be delivered within this five-year term of Parliament.”