Curriculum and Assessment Board minutes: September 2022

Minutes from the meeting held on 28 September 2022.

Attendees and apologies


  • Gayle Gorman, Education Scotland (Chair) 
  • Professor Mark Priestley, University of Stirling 
  • Sharon McLennan, Association of Heads and Deputes in Scotland (AHDS) 
  • Liz McGrath, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) 
  • Jim Metcalfe, College Development Network 
  • Jane Brumpton, Early Years Scotland 
  • James Russell, Skills Development Scotland 
  • Matthew Sweeney, Convention of Scottish Local Authorities (CoSLA) 
  • Margaret Farragher, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) 
  • John Guidi, Scottish Secondary Teachers Association (SSTA) 
  • Tara Lillis, National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers (NASUWT) 
  • Professor Louise Hayward, University of Glasgow 
  • Ken Thomson, Colleges Scotland 
  • Andrea Bradley, Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS) 
  • Tony McDaid, Regional Improvement Collaboratives 
  • Aileen Ponton, Scottish Credit and Qualifications Partnership (SCQF) 
  • Cheryl Burnett, National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) 
  • John Edward, Scottish Council for Independent Schools (SCIS) 
  • Andrew Shoolbread, Scottish Out of Schools Network 
  • Stephen Quinn, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES) 
  • Robert Quinn, Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) 
  • Julie MacDonald, School Leaders Scotland 
  • Kathryn O’Loan, Scottish Funding Council 
  • Ollie Bray, Education Scotland 
  • Joan McKay, Education Scotland 
  • Andrew Creamer, Education Scotland 
  • Clare Hicks, Director, Education Reform 
  • Lorraine Davidson, Deputy Director, Education Strategy 
  • Laura Murdoch, Deputy Director, Curriculum and Qualifications Division 
  • Scottish Government Officials, Advanced Learning and Science Reform Division 
  • Scottish Government Officials, Curriculum and Qualifications Division
  • Scottish Government Officials, Improvement, Attainment and Wellbeing Division


  • Lesley Gibbs, ADES Early Years 
  • Universities Scotland – no current representative

Items and actions

Welcome and draft minutes from last meeting

Gayle welcomed members to the Curriculum and Assessment Board (CAB) meeting. Draft minutes from the meeting on 19th May 2022 were agreed as an accurate record and approved by members. The Secretariat provided an update on two actions:

  • in relation to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) work plan, it is anticipated that initial governance arrangements will be reviewed after the publication of the National Discussion and Hayward review and an update on progress will be taken to CAB early 2023
  • in relation to engaging with CAB members on the National Discussion, this has been covered at the Education Reform Stakeholder Reference Group. The National Discussion has been developed to deliver a broad suite of engagement which is invitational, non-prescriptive and organic

National Qualifications Results

Robert Quinn (SQA) gave a presentation on the outcome of the awarding of national courses in 2022 and asked the group for feedback, to inform the approach to be taken in 2023. Key points included:

  • results certificates sent to nearly 138,000 learners
  • despite all the issues and challenges, a breadth of achievement was celebrated and that is testament to the learners, teachers and lecturers
  • learners showed remarkable resilience and there was strong performance, but the impact of the pandemic was evident
  • priority appeals have now been completed. Course reports for every subject will be published over the next few months
  • full evaluation of assessment and awarding in 2022 will begin after completion of the appeals process – results from this and the 2021 evaluation will provide important lessons and feed into the Hayward Review
  • continuation of course assessment modifications have already been confirmed for 22/23, following engagement
  • National Qualifications Steering Group and Working Group have been reconvened for 22/23

CAB members were invited to offer feedback. There was a discussion about timing for the appeals process in relation to Universities holding conditional offers open until appeal process has been completed. SG officials have set up a meeting to discuss this issue with HE representatives and the SQA.

Purpose and Principles for Post School Education, Research and Skills Development Ecosystem (Purpose and Principles) 

A Scottish government official, from the Advanced Learning and Science Reform Division, gave an update on the Purpose and Principles work, highlighting the connections between this and other pieces of reform work which are underway. The idea of an overarching strategic intent for the sector was felt to be missing. Slides were presented which highlighted the interconnections between the senior phase and tertiary education and that the ecosystem was diverse and complex. The presentation set out the stakeholder engagement due to take place and a timetable for delivering the programme. The work is due to conclude in the Spring next year and will produce an interim report in the Autumn. 

CAB members raised the following points:

  • a query about choreography was raised between the various reform processes, including the Scottish Funding Council work, to ensure clear communication and transparency for all parts of the system
  • there was a question about the intention behind the work and the intended beneficiaries and caution about how Key Performance Indicators were framed to ensure they delivered the intended outcome, including how to demonstrate success

National Improvement Framework (NIF)

There was a paper circulated in advance for noting on the proposals for the 2023 National Improvement Framework and Improvement Plan. Members took the opportunity to raise the following views:

  • there was concern that there are factors outwith the education sector that will impact on the poverty attainment gap and these should be recognised
  • EIS noted that comments had been shared in writing
  • the NIF should reflect colleges as well as schools
  • it was noted that the pandemic continues to affect Scottish education and this should be borne in mind
  • it is important that all 4 capacities of Curriculum for Excellence should be reflected in how Scottish education is measured, within the context of the empowerment agenda, which is being considered as part of the National Discussion
  • there was a request for the NIF to include an explanation of acronyms
  • Scottish Government officials from the NIF team noted that comments could be fed in electronically until 7th October


There was no other business raised by members. The chair thanked members for their input today and for the previous Secretariat for their work to date. The Chair asked members to provide feedback electronically on the meeting format for today and preference for future meetings e.g. online, hybrid or in person. A date for the next meeting in January 2023 is to be confirmed. 


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