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The BBC's Scottish Political Editor, Brian Taylor
"Sam Galbraith will tough it out while enquiries continue"
 real 56k

BBC Scotland's Forbes McFall reports
"Some of the Standard Grade pupils could be in for a shock"
 real 56k

Nichola Sturgeon MSP, SNP Education
"Someone really has to carry the can"
 real 56k

SQA chief executive, Bill Morton
"The vast majority of the Standards results are fine"
 real 28k

Wednesday, 30 August, 2000, 22:15 GMT 23:15 UK
Senior exam officials leave jobs
Sam Galbraith
Sam Galbraith is being forced on the defensive
Two senior officials at the Scottish Qualifications Authority have left their posts as the exams fiasco deepens.

Head of operations Jack Greig, who was responsible for the collection and processing of results, has been suspended pending a disciplinary inquiry.

Director of awards David Elliot has resigned from his job, where he was in charge of the certification of qualifications.

And the crisis took a further twist when the SQA confirmed that some students were likely to have their grades reduced.

This is the SQA's problem, the SQA will fix it

Bill Morton, SQA
It said that about 300 students who sat physical education at Standard Grade had mistakenly had identical results entered into the system instead of their true grades.

A spokesman said: "Staff at SQA are correcting these awards as quickly as possible, but it is likely that some of these candidates will receive lower final grades."

Interim chief executive Bill Morton said: "It is important that we bring clarity to as many students affected by inaccurate results as soon as possible.

"The problem affecting some candidates who sat PE Standard Grade is deeply regrettable."

More than 4,000 Standard Grade results had to be rechecked because they were inaccurate or incomplete.

The problems have piled further pressure on the Scottish Education Minister Sam Galbraith to resign.

Mr Galbraith will make a statement to the Scottish Parliament next Wednesday.

Recovery process

SQA interim chief executive Bill Morton said the disciplinary action against Mr Greig was "quite separate" from the internal review started two days ago.

"It is important to demonstrate that the SQA is addressing individual responsibility and where it fights within the recovery process," he added.

It also emerged on Wednesday that most secondary schools had been sent the wrong Standard Grade results.

The SQA blamed problems with faxing information to schools and said results were being re-sent manually.

Mr Galbraith said: "The SQA should have got this right. These matters are being resolved.

They have had a hard job, but so much has happened to irritate me, I have lost all patience

Norrie Mackay, head teacher
"It doesn't diminish my anger at what went wrong and my determination to have this matter resolved very, very quickly."

One secondary head teacher, who received another school's Standard Grades on Wednesday, said his patience had run out.

Norrie Mackay, of Coatbridge High, told BBC News Online Scotland that when he phoned the SQA about receiving the wrong data he was informed every secondary in Scotland had been sent incorrect results.

"We received the results of candidates at Breadalbane Academy in Aberfeldy and our pupils' grades went to St Margaret's High in Livingston.

Financial cost

"The person who answered the phone told me that every school was in the same position and that was confirmed when I spoke to her supervisor.

"I have had sympathy with the SQA - up until now. They have had a hard job, but so much has happened to irritate me, I have lost all patience," said Mr Mackay.

He added that the ongoing exams fiasco had cost his school more than 3,000 in staff time and administration.

Bill Morton
Bill Morton: "SQA's problem"
Mr Morton said: "This is the SQA's problem, the SQA will fix it.

"I fully appreciate that there are a great many students that have been affected by it.

"I'm sorry about that but we are focussing all our efforts on making sure that the problems are fixed and prevented from happening again."

This latest episode involving the Standard Grades puts Mr Galbraith under more pressure to quit.

'He may have to be moved'

BBC Scotland political editor Brian Taylor said: "It is a key test of devolution, to sort this out.

"I think the blame will to some extent fall, whether it is fair or not, on Sam Galbraith.

"He will tough it out through the inquiries that are just about to begin, most notably the inquiry by the parliament's education committee.

"He will answer the questions but at the end of that I think he may have to be moved simply in order to restore the credibility of the education department with some big negotiations coming up with teachers and others."

Brian Monteith
Brian Monteith: "Final straw?"
The Conservatives' education spokesman Brian Monteith said: "It does not appear to matter how bad things get, Sam Galbraith remains determined to cling onto his job.

"He has become the executive's very own emperor with no clothes - no-one has the bottle to tell him that his position is untenable."

He also called for a week's extension to the deadline for submitting appeals against exam grades.

The Scottish National Party's education spokeswoman Nicola Sturgeon MSP said she was lodging an emergency motion in parliament calling for a debate next Wednesday.

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See also:

28 Aug 00 | Scotland
Teachers' exams fears 'ignored'
28 Aug 00 | Scotland
Exams chief launches internal review
28 Aug 00 | Scotland
Education stuck in 'time warp'
23 Aug 00 | Scotland
Schools get keys to 'private' doors
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