Education Reform Qualifications Body Delivery Board minutes: September 2022

Minutes for the meeting of the group, held on 13 September 2022.

This document is part of a collection

Attendees and apologies


  • Mike Baxter (MB)
  • Liz McGrath (LMcG)
  • Fiona Robertson (FR)
  • John Booth (JB)
  • Martin Campbell (MC)
  • George Brown (GB)
  • Fintan Cronin (FC)
  • Chris Graham (CG)
  • Ken Thomson (KT)
  • Stuart McKenna (SMcK)
  • Lyndsay McRoberts (LMcR)
  • Isabel Nisbet (IN)


  • Raymond Holloway (RH)
  • Shannon Quinn (SQ) (Secretariat)


  • Louise Wright (LW)
  • Dawnne Mahmoud (DM)
  • Elizabeth ‘Liz’ Cunningham (EC)
  • Erin McCabe (EM)
  • Sharon McGuigan (SMcG)

Items and actions

Welcome and introductions

Welcome to Liz McGrath as our new Programme Director.

Minute and actions of previous meeting

The Board agreed the previous set of minutes taken on 18 August 2022 reflects what was discussed. 

MB confirmed Julie Macdonald, representative of School Leaders Scotland and Headteacher of Nairn Academy, has been selected to participate as a member of the Qualification Body Delivery Board (QDB). Due to prior commitments, Julie is unable to join us today, however we will provide today’s findings for her review and include her in meetings going forward.

Action: QDB-10 – PMO will share today’s papers and findings with Julie MacDonald.

Previous actions

  • MB to circulate the full Education Reform Programme ToR (Terms of Reference)Update: 13 September 2022 – completed, this action can now be closed. QDB-01
  • references to “External Members” will be updated for the final version of the Delivery Board ToR. Update: 13 September 2022 - completed, this action can now be closed. QDB-02
  • after amendments are made to the ToR, PMO (Programme Management Office) will circulate for sign offUpdate: 13 September 2022 - completed, this action can now be closed. QDB-03
  • create an acronym glossary for the programme and add to future DB (Delivery Board) packs and ToRUpdate: 13 September 2022 - completed, this action can now be closed. QDB-04
  • FC to factor the external factors mentioned at the QDB 18 August into the next iteration of the Programme DashboardUpdate: 13 September 2022 - completed, this action can now be closed. QDB-05
  • PMO will issue a summary of the Programme Change Lifecycle to show the different phases such as the Discovery and the Design phase of the programme. Update: 13 September 2022 – completed, this action can now be closed. QDB-06
  • CG to amend the PID to highlight that Accreditation and Regulation may be considered a part of this board’s objectives but a decision on where these functions will sit has not yet been made by ministersUpdate: 13 September 2022 - remains open, discussions have taken place but a suggested draft for the PID is being worked upon and hopefully progressed later today. This will be circulated when available. QDB-07
  • SMcG and CG to have off line discussions regarding accreditation documents prior to submission to Cab Sec review. Update: 13 September 2022 – remains open. QDB-08
  • review RAID (Risks, Assumptions, Issues, Dependencies), please direct feedback to FC and MB. Update: 13 September 2022 – completed, this action can now be closed. QDB-09

Programme dashboard

LMcG provided an update on the programme dashboard. RAG (Red, Amber, Green) status – red. 

The Dashboard shows milestones and key points for discussion and progress over several months. The SWOT (Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats) analysis (deliverable 2) remains in progress and on track. Now that funding for internal resource backfill is in place, recruitment is underway. The programme team are in the process of assessing the adverse impacts of the delayed release of funding on the plan for the remaining Target Operating Model (TOM) deliverables.

Workstream updates 

Target Operating Model update

RH provided an update on the TOM workstream.

Deliverable 2 (SWOT Analysis) is progressing as planned. There is a target delivery date prior to Christmas to form a basis for the high-level Target Operating Model. The doability and impact assessment on this, due to the delays in funding will be presented at the next QBR Delivery Board for review and agreement.

Action: QBD-11 – LMcG to share impact assessment for the delay in funding regarding TOM workstream at the next QBR Delivery Board.

Colleague engagement update

JB provided an update on the Colleague Engagement workstream.

The flow of communication internally to colleagues remains ongoing following the last QBR Delivery Board. The team will look at the work Raymond and the team have produced within the SWOT Analysis and feedback to those involved. Next steps include looking at future communications, milestones and to continue to progress meaningful engagement with staff.

External comms and engagement update

JB provided an update on the external comms and engagement workstream.

In addition to communicating the appointment of Head Teacher Julie MacDonald to the QBR Delivery Board, coordinating and creating a coherent shared narrative, timeline, dependencies etc for this workstream will be progressed over the next few months. It is critical to ensure that the direction of travel and external communications of progress and challenges are understandable to all involved.

Action: QBD-12 - CG to include JB in relevant correspondences and discussions going forward regarding external communication and engagement.

Governance update

LM provided an update on the Governance workstream.

Appendix 1 - Education Reform Programme – Governance Arrangements – 2.0:

This document was included in the pack which was circulated prior to the meeting. This is a revised approach to the Education Reform Governance arrangements that focuses on the discovery and design phase of the programme. This includes principles, ToR’s etc. Other elements that need to be recognised include the Hayward Review and the OECD (Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development) work. Part of the Governance arrangements includes risk management which is in place and meetings with programme directors and ScotGov PMO team have been undertaken.

Legislation update

CG provided an update on the Legislation workstream.

The Programme for Governance was published last week, there was reference to the Education Reform Bill. CG has advised he has a meeting with colleagues within the parliament and legislative units on Thursday 15 September. The legislative programme in terms of details on dates, sequences, and timescale for legislation etc is governed by these units via the Minister in the Parliamentary Business. In terms of references to timeline, this remains within the parliamentary year up to June 2023, which allows time to meet commitments in terms of the Bill. Further clarity will be provided after the meeting this Thursday.

Action: QBD-13 – CG to clarify the timeline regarding Legislation workstream after Thursday’s 16 September ministerial meeting.

Interviews and discussion between SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) colleagues, stakeholders, regulators etc have been conducted regarding accreditation and regulation. The SG (Scottish Government) team are now pulling together all the information and looking at the options and analysis on the risks and opportunities remains ongoing. There are a few steps to complete, interdependencies to be considered, background work needing to be recognised etc. Therefore, meetings will be organised ASAP to meet the mid-October deadline prior to advising ministers and the Cabinet Secretary.

Action: QBD-14 – CG and Scot Gov team to schedule meetings ahead of the mid-October deadline to discuss interdependencies, background work etc.

Spotlight on

SWOT analysis on current operating model

RH presented the findings from the SWOT analysis (commission Deliverable 2). The supporting draft slide deck for this can be made available to Delivery Board members separately.

Action: QBD-15 – a 2x2 grid summarising the identified Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats from the review should be added to the next iteration of the SWOT findings summary.

QBR programme risks and issues update

All risks remain red, there were no changes made to their overall status. 

Action:QBD-16 – risk QBR_009R has no scoring within the risks and issues slide, this requires review and updating.

Action: QBD-17 – risk QBR_010R has no scoring within the risks and issues slide, this requires review and updating.

It was agreed that the Education Reform (ER) Programme risk register summary should be included in the QBR Delivery Board pack going forward to show the wider Education Reform context to all programme members.

Action: QBD-18 - LMcG and MB will arrange with the ER programme to include the wider programme risk register in future QBR Delivery Board packs.

Highlight report for education reform PSB

LMcG provided a summary of the QBR Programme Highlight Report that will be included in the wider Education Reform Programme Strategic Board pack. Key points from this have already been covered in the previous agenda points.

Any other business

It was acknowledged that FC is moving on to new challenges outside of the SQA.

Book of SQA: this document was produced to assist Professor Ken Muir in his review of SQA.

Action: QBD-19 – PMO will circulate the Book of SQA to all members.

Code of conduct and confidentiality

The information we consider and discuss at these meetings and within the overall programme must operating under our code of conduct and confidentiality. 

Action: QBD-20 - MB will circulate a paper prepared by SG covering the Education Reform Programme on the disclosure of information within the QD Board meetings and any subsequent outputs.

The following documents were included in the board pack which was circulated to all members prior to the meeting:

  • appendix 2. Qualifications Body Reform Programme change lifecycle v1
  • appendix 3. terms of Reference for New Qualifications Body – Programme Delivery Board v0.8
  • appendix 4. QBR Programme glossary v0.2 
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