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SSTA Survey - Alternative Certification Model (ACM) – May 2021

The SSTA conducted a survey in response to the high numbers of members raising concerns regarding the Alternative Certification Model (ACM) and its impact on teachers and their pupils.

Seamus Searson, SSTA General Secretary said

“The SSTA received 1711 responses which gave a clear indication of the difficulties teachers and pupils are facing in trying to deliver the ACM.

“The SQA is in its ‘own world’, oblivious to the real situation in schools. It has shown little understanding of the situation in schools and the damage it is doing to pupils and teachers. The SQA’s focus is continuing to ‘fiddle while Rome burns’.

 “The collecting of evidence demanded by SQA in such a short time period, without making any allowance for the disruption caused by the pandemic, is putting a heavy burden on teachers and pupils. 96% of teachers said that the collection, marking and moderation of evidence has created substantial additional stress/pressure for them. 92% of teachers also said that the ACM process has created substantial additional stress/pressure for their pupils”

“More worryingly, only 36% of members believed that the evidence that they have collected truly demonstrated their pupil’s attainment. This highlights the potentially high number of pupils who will get grades lower than would have been expected in a normal year”.

 “The SQA’s focus on collected evidence, which doesn’t adequately take into account the disruption in schools, will lead to a large number of disillusioned young people and very unhappy parents”.

“The SQA must change its stance and allow the flexibility for teacher professional judgement, in addition to the collected evidence, to ensure all young people achieve the results that they deserve”.

SSTA Headteachers members have said

“No proper Headteacher representation on the NQ2021 group to talk about the actual operational actions that they have asked us to do – clearly no one on that group has had recent or living school experience”.

“This whole ACM has been a nightmare of stress for both staff and pupils. I have visibly seen the stress on the faces of my staff and the pupils. This has been the worst, most pressurised time of my whole career”.
Attached:         Appendix A - Survey Results
                        Appendix B - Selection of Members Comments

Papers and classroom

Workload Guidance No 2

The SSTA is committed to supporting members to manage and reduce workload and will be giving members regular advice and guidance on managing and tackling workload. Please find attached the second guidance document that is intended to give guidance to all members, members in management positions, guidance and pupil support. This will be followed by further guidance to members and school representatives.   

The first guidance document was issued in June.  It is intended to raise awareness of the teachers’ contract and advice on a number of expectations placed on teachers.