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Commenting on the statement from the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills on plans for education recovery, including the reform of the SQA and Education Scotland, Dr Patrick Roach, General Secretary of NASUWT-The Teachers’ Union, said:

It is abundantly clear from the current mess created by the Scottish Government and the SQA over the arrangements for the awarding of this summer qualifications that reform is needed.

“Teachers have lost confidence in both the SQA and Education Scotland and an overhaul of systems and structures is now needed in the best interests of schools, teachers and pupils.

“These reforms must not be a cosmetic exercise. The NASUWT has already warned that a growing over-emphasis on assessment and bureaucracy is disempowering teachers, damaging their morale and undermining their ability to meet the needs of their pupils.

“The founding principal of any overhaul must be to develop a genuinely collegiate education system which recognises and values learning in its widest sense and in which teachers are empowered and supported to focus on teaching and learning.

“The Cabinet Secretary will now be judged on the pledges she has set out today. The Minister must provide further details of how the promised £1 billion to close the attainment gap will be spent and whether this is all ‘new’ funding.

“Similarly, if the pledge to recruit 3,500 new teachers and teaching assistants over the life of this parliament is to be met, it will require additional investment in pay levels and tangible action to address the drivers of excessive workload and stress which drive so many out of a career in education and deter others from joining. Action to retain teachers will be as critical as steps to recruit them.” 

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