Teacher union criticises consultation on new exams

The Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, representing 9,000 teachers in Scotland's secondary schools, today attacked the consultation exercise conducted to gauge support for the new examination system proposed for fourth year students in Scottish schools.

In a letter to members, Association President, Ann Ballinger, and Acting General Secretary, Jim Docherty, criticised the validity of the questions posed in the consultation and the methods used to assess support or otherwise for the proposals.

Ms Ballinger commented "It is clear that many of the questions were loaded in order to reduce opportunities to disagree with the proposals. Many of the questions were savagely criticised by those responding."

Commenting on the method of counting the responses, Jim Docherty stated "The voice of 60,000 Scottish teachers as represented by their trade unions has been reduced to five "votes". Each union's view is given the same weight as that accorded to an individual respondent. The undervaluing of the views of Scottish teachers was pointed out but no correction has been made to the consultation summary (which is the only part of the consultation read by many).

"There is an obvious link between the curriculum and assessment arrangements. The failure to represent accurately the views of Scotland's teachers does nothing to inspire confidence in the important Curriculum for Excellence "Outcomes and Experiences" documents which are published this week. These are intended to provide much of the detail of what is involved in the new curriculum for the earlier years of secondary education. If they cannot attract the support of Scotland's teachers, prospects for the success of the Curriculum for Excellence are bleak."

For further information contact:-

Jim Docherty

Acting General Secretary

Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association

14 West End Place

Edinburgh EH11 2ED

0131 313 7300