Press Release - SSTA to Ballot Members on Bureaucratic Qualifications

The SSTA National Council has sanctioned an Indicative Ballot of members on the Government’s Assessment and National Qualification working group report due at the end of March.

Seamus Searson, SSTA General Secretary said “the situation that many teachers face in schools today in trying to do the best for their young people is intolerable.

SSTA has welcomed the acknowledgement that there are problems and possible measures for the future are being prepared but workload needs to be reduced now”.

“The SSTA has taken part in the working group and has consistently urged for measures to be taken to reduce the bureaucratic and over complicated regime for the 2016-17 qualification cycle. This is in response to SSTA members across Scotland asking for some action to be taken to address the workload in the next qualification cycle that will begin after Easter”.

Seamus Searson added “the indicative ballot will allow members the opportunity to express their views of the working group report. However, the SSTA National Council has sanctioned a ballot for industrial action should the report not meet the aspirations of its members”.

A SSTA survey early this year showed the additional time required for completing the various tasks required by the SQA:

  • Internal moderation - 25% of teachers were spending more than 10 hours with a further 15% of teachers spending more than 20 hours per course.
  • External verification - 19% of teachers were spending more than 10 hours with 8% spending more than 20 hours.
  • Marking Unit Assessments – 32% of teachers were spending more than 10 hours with 54% spending more than 20 hours
  • Marking Added Value Units – 31% of teachers were spending more than 10 hours with 34% spending more than 20 hours
  • Data entry – 27% of teachers were spending more than 10 hours with 18% spending more than 20 hours


Comments made by SSTA members in schools

“Endless internal assessment that does nothing useful other than allow us to tick a box and then get told we shouldn't have done - no child has ever been improved in any way by what we are obliged to force them through”.

“And then a colleague, whom you regard as one of the most talented and dedicated teachers you have ever worked with, starts to wonder out loud whether the game is worth the candle and that another year like this will see them looking for another job”.

“Over assessment has created serious workload issues, taking away from teaching and is very demoralising for pupils”

“In 30 years of teaching I have never experienced stress levels and workload issues like I have in the past few years. I feel sorry for the young teachers coming into the profession as their work/life balance is extremely poor”.

“The amount of paperwork surrounding each qualification and the micromanagement of assessment standards is beyond ridiculous”.

Euan Duncan, SSTA President said “SSTA has listened to members who want measures in place to protect them from bureaucracy. We must teachers away from administration and return them to teaching and learning”.


Further information from

Seamus Searson

General Secretary

0131 313 7300


22 March 2016



Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association

West End House

14 West End Place


EH11 2ED