SSTA ready to Boycott the SQA Exams next year

The SQA has announced that National Qualifications course assessments in session 2023-24 will return to full requirements – including reinstating coursework and exam assessment and the National 4 added value unit.

Seamus Searson SSTA General Secretary said:

“The SQA pushed this decision out on a day when all focus is on Holyrood, just two days before the Easter break when teachers and learners are in the final furlong for the 2023 exams. This is a bad news story for all secondary school teachers and the young people they teach”.

“I am absolutely astounded by this message from the SQA. The SQA needs a reality check as it has totally misread the situation in secondary schools. I have not spoken to a single secondary school teacher who believes their pupils are ready to return to full exam requirements. The SSTA has, at every turn, and in meetings with the Cabinet Secretary and with the SQA, advocated for interim measures to remain in place in 2024 and beyond.

“The long-term damage to pupils, caused by the pandemic, is no secret.   Every secondary teacher in the country knows that pupils are still not ready to return to the previous regime. Any resumption of ‘normal’ arrangements is more about SQA taking back control and cementing a place for itself in the developing education landscape. This risks giving an impression that the pandemic never happened, and that education recovery is just a nonsense to which the SQA pays lip service”.

“This return flies in the face of common sense when the Hayward Review is going to change the assessment and qualifications system in 2025 and beyond. To reintroduce the ‘normal’ when it could all change again in the next couple of years is just going to add to teacher workload and cause further damage to teachers’ health and wellbeing.

“Moreover, the SSTA has been refused a place at the National Qualifications Strategic Group. When challenged, the SQA has stated that it needs only one teacher representative.   Our view is that they do not really want to hear what secondary teachers think. This is the same group that introduced the Alternative Certification Model (ACM) during Covid which was roundly condemned as a workload nightmare by all secondary teachers”.

“Any idea that the SQA has engaged with the education community carries the risk of being accused of contempt for secondary school teachers. This proposal shows that it hasn’t listened and is following its own agenda.

“The SSTA has already had calls from members to boycott the return of the full requirements and I cannot see the call being rejected. The SSTA says NO to bureaucrats setting the agenda and heaping more stress and pressure on a profession that is on its knees”.