Page last updated at 14:25 GMT, Tuesday, 28 February 2012

Education Committee

East Renfrewshire Council director of education John Wilson said the headteachers in his local authority had unanimously backed the decision to delay the implementation of exams for the Curriculum for Excellence by one year, as he defended the move to MSPs.

Mr Wilson was giving evidence to the Education Committee on 28 February 2012.

He said the decision had been taken "for our young people" not to protect timelines or structure and that teachers were a "wee bit insecure" with the new exams as there was "insufficient information".

However Mr Wilson stressed he was still behind the ethos of the Curriculum for Excellence.

East Renfrewshire Council, the top performing education authority in the country, is the only council to have opted to delay the exams by a year.

As part of the Curriculum for Excellence schools are being encouraged to move to a new exams structure which aims to give pupils a broader based education.

Under Scottish government plans, pupils in the second year of secondary school are to be the first to sit the National exams in 2014. They will replace Standard Grades and Intermediates.

Larry Flanagan from the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) also expressed concerns about the exams time table and called for schools to be given the option to delay the exams by a year.

Mr Flannigan called for a review of the exam timeline to avoid a "big bang" implementation and said the school community was better placed than any directorate or Education Scotland to make the decision if a delay was necessary.

Terry Lanagan from the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) denied there would be a big bang and insisted that in April 2010 all 32 local authorities had a plan in place and last year all 32 local authorities had had no concerns about the timeline.

Mr Lanagan added the ADES saw no need for any further delay in implementation.

Dr Janet Brown from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) said the new exams were coming in on a faster than normal qualification timetable but said it was "doable and achievable".

Bill Maxwell from Education Scotland said the programme had been "carefully placed" and was on schedule and there was no strong demand from other local authorities to delay.

Education Committee membership

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