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Monday, 28 August, 2000, 13:31 GMT 14:31 UK
Teachers' exams fears 'ignored'
Exam certificate
Inspectors marked some Higher papers
A union has said the exams chaos in Scotland was caused by the authorities' failure to listen to teachers.

The Educational Institute of Scotland described the situation as a "disaster" and that future alterations to exam arrangements must fully involve schools, classroom taechers and union officials.

"Failures in the past by government and curricular bodies to ensure such involvement have been directly responsible for many of the difficulties which have now become so starkly apparent," the union said in a letter to members.

It has been sent to all EIS representatives in Scotland's schools, colleges and new universities by president Margaret Nicol and general secretary Ronnie Smith.

Meanwhile, BBC Scotland's education correspondent Ken Macdonald has learned that some school inspectors were paid to mark Higher papers.

Action areas

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Executive said a "small number" of inspectors had done the work in their own time and were paid the going rate by the SQA.

Our correspondent said the inspectorate, which in theory is independent, had been criticised for driving through the exam reforms but not warning ministers of concern among teachers.

At a meeting last week with Scottish Executive representatives, the EIS put forward three areas which needed "urgent" attention:

  • There should be a substantial reduction in the complexity of internal assessment procedures for all subject areas

  • There should be an appropriate level of payment for all SQA examination markers, meaning a substantial increase in current payments

  • There should be a review of the SQA timetabling arrangements and the date for reporting examination results

Meanwhile, the Scottish education system is stuck in a "time warp" and is in need of a dramatic overhaul, according to a report.

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.

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See also:

28 Aug 00 | Scotland
Education stuck in 'time warp'
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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