Scottish exams body refutes charge it does not communicate well with teachers

The comms team at the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has hit back at accusations that it has lost the trust of teachers and does not deal with criticism properly.

Scottish Parliament report has raised frustrations within the teaching profession
Scottish Parliament report has raised frustrations within the teaching profession

The remarks were made by Ross Greer, a Scottish Green Party Member of the Scottish Parliament, during an education debate in Holyrood.

Commenting on a report by the Scottish Parliament's Education and Skills Committee, which raised concerns over the SQA's performance, Mr Greer claimed that trust between the SQA and teachers "has completely broken down".

He went on to accuse the non-departmental public body of dealing with feedback by taking an approach "akin to a defensive corporate public relations exercise".

The report, published earlier this year, cited frustration within the teaching profession, including "issues with excessive and unclear guidance, complex administration and mistakes in exam papers issued by the SQA", according to the committee.

Dr Janet Brown, SQA chief executive, had previously told the committee: "Communication, as we all know, is an extremely complicated and challenging area, and it could always be done better."

One of the report's recommendations was for the SQA to improve its "communication with teachers".

Mr Greer claimed the SQA's response to the committee's report was "defensive, filled with platitudes and simply restating its structures and processes... but not addressing the concerns that our committee raised".

Responding to the criticisms, a SQA spokesman told PRWeek yesterday: "In our response to the Education and Skills Committee’s recommendations, we reaffirmed that our relationship with teachers is critically important to the successful delivery of Scotland's qualifications system and every year 15,000 teachers work with us as appointees."

He added: "We continue our work to improve our communication with the wider community. We use a wide range of communications channels to regularly engage with our varied audience groups, whom we listen to and act on their feedback."

The spokesman stressed that the SQA is "keenly aware" of its responsibility to "establish and maintain the standard and quality of qualifications for the benefit of learners across Scotland".

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