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The NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, has rejected the SQA’s proposals that appeals against this summer’s grades for national qualifications should be handled by schools.

The NASUWT has today submitted its response to the SQA’s consultation on the plans and has told the regulator that it does not support any of its three options for handling appeals, as each places the responsibility for managing appeals on schools.

The NASUWT believes such an approach will potentially leave schools vulnerable to litigation, will damage pupil/school relationships, undermine pupils’ confidence in the neutrality of the appeals system and impose excessive workload burdens on teachers and school leaders.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary said:

“The starting premise for the SQA’s consultation is that schools will handle appeals themselves. There is no consideration of other approaches to the management of appeals this year. Offering only a narrow range of sub-optimal options, all of which threaten to drive up teacher and school leader workload is completely unacceptable.

“Rather than start the consultation process earlier to provide better scope for working with the profession to create a fit-for-purpose appeals system, the SQA has instead undertaken a rushed exercise in which it has chosen to place teachers in a position of effectively being asked to choose which sub-optimal option they can best tolerate.

“The NASUWT does not support any of the three models which have been proposed, as each one places the responsibility for managing appeals on schools, potentially opening up the floodgates to litigation. Each model will also generate excessive and unacceptable workload burdens on teachers and school leaders.

“The SQA has completely failed to consider other options which do not involve teachers in managing the appeals process. These options, set out in the NASUWT’s response to the consultation, would help to preserve the neutrality and consistency of the appeals process, which is vital for the trust and confidence of pupils in the appeals system and for the professional integrity of teachers and schools.

“The NASUWT will be pressing the SQA and ministers to work with us and other stakeholders to urgently design a fit for purpose appeals system which will work to the benefit, not the detriment, of pupils, teachers and schools.”

NASUWT National Official Scotland Jane Peckham said:

“The framing of this consultation is only likely to exacerbate the existing deficit of confidence among teachers in the SQA.

“The proposals fail to recognise or reflect the fact that teachers are already working under extreme pressure in determining and submitting centre assessed grades for pupils this year and in supporting all their pupils to catch up and recover their education from the impact of the pandemic. The SQA has completely failed to take into consideration the huge difficulties in capacity managing a system of internal appeals would have on schools and the workforce.

“The SQA has also failed to consider the damage its proposals could do to relationships between schools and families. An expensive, time-consuming and wasteful appeal process will serve only to damage relationships at a time where the focus should be on supporting recovery and rebuilding morale.”


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