Scottish Qualifications Authority to be replaced

The Scottish Government said on Monday the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is to be replaced and schools agency  Education Scotland “substantially reformed” following publication of a report into Scotland’s curriculum system by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Organisation (OECD).

The OECD was commissioned last year by the Scottish Government to carry out a review of its Curriculum for Excellence (CfE).

The OECD backed Scotland’s school curriculum in its review — but said there is too much focus on exams in later years of school education.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced that all 12 of the review’s recommendations will be accepted in full, including recommendations on curriculum, assessment and qualifications.

“The Scottish Government will actively consider what changes are required to our qualifications and assessment system,” said the Scottish Government.

“This work will be heavily informed by the next OECD report, expected in the autumn, and by consultation with young people, parents, teachers and the wider education system.

“Education Scotland will no longer undertake inspections, with this work becoming a separate, independent role.

“The Scottish Government will engage widely on the options for the future of inspection.

“The OECD also suggests that the curriculum work currently undertaken by Education Scotland might best sit with any new curriculum and assessment body which will replace the SQA.

“Publication of the OECD report into Scotland’s curriculum system, known as Curriculum for Excellence (CfE), meets another of the Scottish Government’s commitments for the first 100 days since the First Minister was elected.”

Somerville said: “The last few years have accelerated a debate about the future of Curriculum for Excellence and senior phase education in particular.

“The OECD report is crystal clear – Curriculum for Excellence is the right approach for Scotland.

“In fact, despite all the criticism here at home, the OECD tells us it is viewed internationally as an inspiring example of curriculum practice.

“However, 10 years on from CfE being introduced, it is right and proper that we review how it is being implemented.

“We accept in full all 12 recommendations from the OECD.

“We will replace the SQA.

“We will talk to young people, parents and teachers to build a system that works in line with CfE – exactly as the OECD recommends.

“Responsibility for inspection will no longer sit with Education Scotland and we will look at what further reform of the agency’s functions is required.

“Everyone across the education system, including at the SQA and Education Scotland, has worked tirelessly this year under very challenging circumstances.

“They are owed a debt of gratitude.

“What comes next is a period of change.

“But it is change in order to improve, to achieve more and to deliver for Scotland’s pupils.

“Our commitment is to do exactly that and we will work with everyone and anyone willing to help to make that a reality.”

About the Author

Mark McSherry
Dalriada Media LLC sites are edited by veteran news journalist Mark McSherry, a former staff editor and reporter with Reuters, Bloomberg and major newspapers including the South China Morning Post, London's Sunday Times and The Scotsman. McSherry's journalism has also appeared in The Washington Post, The Guardian, The Independent, The New York Times, London's Evening Standard and Forbes. McSherry is also a professor of journalism and communication arts in universities and colleges in New York City. Scottish-born McSherry has an MBA from the University of Edinburgh and a Certificate in Global Affairs from New York University.