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Responding to the statement by Deputy First Minister John Swinney on Highers and Advanced Higher exams, NASUWT General Secretary Dr Patrick Roach said:

“This decision recognises the ongoing impact of the pandemic and the disruption it has caused in relation to the loss of learning for tens of thousands of pupils across Scotland, particularly for those in the most deprived areas.

“A move to teacher assessment could provide some assistance to pupils who have been affected in unequal ways, depending on whether they are self-isolating or are indeed in schools that have had to close because of Covid-19 outbreaks among staff and pupils. However, it will be critical for the SQA to work with teachers and school leaders to develop workable and manageable proposals in this respect. 

“There are significant concerns however around the increased workload the move towards teacher assessment will create, a burden felt by teachers who are working flat out at the frontline of this pandemic.

“It is clear there are very significant workload implications associated with today’s statement that will need to be addressed and as always the devil will be in the detail as to the full implications arising from this announcement.

“The NASUWT will be looking closely at the full details within these proposals and will respond further following consultation with members across Scotland.”

NASUWT National Official Scotland Jane Peckham said:

“Measures announced to mitigate this burden in terms of the refocusing of inset days are a welcome start but do not go far enough.

“The Deputy First Minister will need to set out further measures to support teachers, who are critical in the marking and assessment of national qualifications.
“He now urgently needs to further underline how teachers will be supported to deliver the changes that are proposed.

“Given the differing incidence of Coronavirus transmission rates across Scotland, it is important to ensure fairness for all students and recognise the significant pressures faced by the profession as they continue to deliver a high-quality education for children and young people.”



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