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Monday, 28 August, 2000, 16:15 GMT 17:15 UK
Exams chief launches internal review
Bill Morton and Sam Galbraith
The probe will link with a Scottish Executive investigation
An internal review of the Scottish Qualifications Authority has been launched by chief executive Bill Morton.

He announced on Monday that the month-long probe would cover the processes, structures and behaviour within the organisation.

It will identify the immediate changes needed within the SQA to make sure there is no repeat of the problems with inaccurate results which affected thousands of students.

And the findings will be phased in to avoid repetition of the exams fiasco next year.

SQA staff
The status quo "is not an option"
"We must quickly identify what went wrong so that we can make the changes required to ensure we do not fail our young people again," said Mr Morton.

"It goes without saying that the status quo for this organisation is not an option."

The review will link with the independent inquiry ordered by the Scottish Executive - and any other probe taking place.

It will be carried out under Mr Morton's direction by a panel including SQA and external reprsentatives.

'Radical transformation'

Management, leadership, communications and the structure of the organisation are among the areas which will be covered.

The announcement comes as a new report claims the Scottish education system is stuck in a "time warp" and is in need of a dramatic overhaul.

A study by public policy think tank the Scottish Council Foundation (SCF) suggests that the education system is in danger of becoming irrelevant to the needs of society.

The SCF says that the education system is "stuck in the industrial age" and that it requires a radical transformation if it is to satisfy the needs of the modern world.

Pupils videoconferencing
A more modern approach is called for
SCF director Graham Leicester said: "The traditional skills and behaviours that the school system encourages - both in the content of the curriculum and, more importantly, in the way it is delivered - are in many cases the opposite of those that will be required for survival, prosperity or fulfilment in the future.

"Recent developments in special needs education and the new philosophy behind the concept of 'life-long learning' show that it is possible to shift the school system."

The claims followed revelations of another hold-up which means that many schools do not have the material needed to start Advanced Higher course work - which replaces the Certificate of Sixth Year Studies exams.

A spokesman for the executive said: "The SQA and the Higher Still Development Unit have a well-established process whereby schools will receive a version of the national assessment bank items to enable them to proceed with the course and assessment of pupils.

"In some areas all the material is complete and in some subjects there are delays but we will make sure everyone is able to go ahead."

A spokeswoman for the SQA said they had issued national assessment materials for most of the major subjects.

Results wait

The spokeswoman refused to comment on whether this would lead to a delay on Advanced Highers courses starting in schools, but said that all materials would be received this month.

Some students caught up in Highers fiasco are still waiting to receive letters confirming a place at university.

University admissions service Ucas said on Friday it had received complete results for all applicants.

However, because Monday is an English bank holiday, school pupils will not receive letters confirming they have won a university place until Tuesday or Wednesday.

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See also:

23 Aug 00 | Scotland
Schools get keys to 'private' doors
20 Aug 00 | Scotland
SQA offered help with appeals flood
18 Aug 00 | Scotland
SQA puts figure on exam mistakes
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