The Scottish Government has published its report Performance and Role of Key Education and Skills Bodies.
The report follows scrutiny of four key public bodies charged with developing and implementing education and skills policy, namely the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the Scottish Funding Council (SFC), Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Education Scotland.
The Government Committee heard a wide range of frustrations from teachers including issues with excessive and unclear guidance, complex administration and mistakes in exam papers issued by the SQA. Much of the evidence the Committee received was anonymised as teachers felt this was the best way for them to express their views freely. Hundreds of teachers also responded to a survey, with 67% of 646 respondents suggesting they lacked trust in the SQA.
The Committee’s report also raises concern about the impact of the ongoing Enterprise and Skills Review on the Scottish Funding Council. It questions the evidence base and calls on the Scottish Government to carefully consider the impact abolishing the SFC board will have on higher education, including on widening access, before proceeding.
Committee Convener, James Dornan MSP said:
“The evidence our Committee received was nothing less than eye opening about some of the problems faced by those working so hard on the front line of education.
“We heard first-hand about the time-consuming burden of guidance that has been placed on teachers, something the Cabinet Secretary has already shown his commitment to deal with. However, there continues to be confusing and contradictory messages coming from the very bodies that should be making it easy for our teachers to focus on the needs of our children.
“We were able to tell these big organisations in no uncertain terms how their actions impact on teachers.
“The Committee found it hard to understand how, in particular, the SQA has met the needs of Scotland’s learners having designed qualifications that have created a huge workload for teachers and led to a breakdown in trust and threats of industrial action.”
The Committee’s report includes the following recommendations:
Skills Development Scotland
Scottish Funding Council