Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment Group minutes: October 2022

Minutes from the meeting held on 27 October 2022.

Attendees and apologies

  • Louise Hayward (Convenor), Emerita Professor, University of Glasgow
  • Andrew Findlater, Depute Headteacher, Charleston Academy
  • Andrea Bradley, General Secretary, EIS Union
  • Beinn Grant, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Cheryl Burnett, Chair, National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Dr Edward Sosu, University of Strathclyde
  • Eileen Prior, Executive Director, Connect
  • Dr Joseph Smith, Lecturer, University of Stirling
  • Ken Muir, Professor, University of the West of Scotland
  • Ken Thomson, Professor, Forth Valley College
  • Margaret Farragher, Executive Director - Policy, Analysis and Standards SQA
  • Mo Whelton, Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Aileen Ponton, Chief Executive, Scottish Credit & Qualifications Framework
  • Jo-Anne Baird, Professor, University of Oxford
  • Chris Chapman, Professor, University of Glasgow
  • Douglas Hutchison, President, Association of Directors of Education in Scotland 
  • Gordon Stobart, Honorary Research Fellow, Oxford and Emeritus Professor of Education, University College London
  • Graham Donaldson, Professor, University of Glasgow
  • Zainab Adeleye, Member of the Scottish Youth Parliament
  • Secretariat, Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment, Scottish Government


  • Mark Priestley, Professor, University of Stirling
  • Tracy Black, Scotland Director, CBI
  • Barrie Sheppard, National Parent Forum of Scotland
  • Jonathan Powles, Professor, University of the West of Scotland

Items and actions

Items and actions


  • the Convener welcomed members to the 5th meeting of the Independent Review Group (IRG)
  • the Convener invited comments on the draft minute of IRG4 meeting. A few suggestions were made, and the Convener committed to making these changes before agreeing the note as ‘final’
  • the Convener provided an overview of the Review’s latest activity including recent meetings

Revised Vision and Principles 

  • a presentation was delivered which highlighted some of the key messages arising from the independent analysis of Phase One on the draft Vision and Principals
  • a revised version of the Principles and Vision Statement was presented. It was noted that these were ‘early’ re-drafts and both would require further work
  • there was a group discussion on the issues raised in the presentation and comments were offered on the re-drafted versions
  • the Convener outlined the ‘next steps’ for revising the Vision and Principles and for sharing a finalised version

Collaborative Community Groups – Membership list

  • IRG members were asked to confirm the membership of their Collaborative Community Groups (CCG) and to consider whether there are individuals or groups that are missing
  • the Convener explained that a few additional groups have been created, not technically CCGs.  These groups are described as allied discussion groups and will meet regularly throughout the Review 

Collaborative Community Groups – Plans for Phase Two

  • the Convener outlined the plans for the distribution of the Phase Two CCG Packs and School and College Packs and noted that these would be shared/published in the coming weeks
  • the Convener noted that additional bespoke questions would be distributed to some of the CCGs
  • there was a group discussion on the draft bespoke questions for each of the following groups: ‘Assessment’; ‘Equalities’, ‘Change Process’, ‘Curriculum’ and ‘Policy’

Role of Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework (SCQF) – Opportunities and Parameters

Aileen Ponton delivered a presentation to inform IRG members on SCQF opportunities and parameters.

Priorities for Communications

  • the IRG were provided with an update on recent communications activity and future plans
  • the communicatios strategy and ‘stakeholder toolkit’ would be shared with IRG members in the coming days
  • there was a group discussion about the communications strategy and suggestions around particular areas which communications activity should focus

Future Meetings

The Convener noted that the SQA Chief Examiner Fiona Robertson will attend the meeting of the IRG on 24 November.

Campus Tour

IRG members were invited to undertake a tour of the Forth Valley College Campus.

Action List 

  • Secretariat to share the independent analysis of the Phase One consultation of the Vision and Principles ahead of next meeting of the IRG
  • Secretariat to send the CCG membership lists to IRG members for confirmation. IRG members to consider whether there are individuals or groups missing
  • Convener and Secretariat to develop a paper for the next IRG which sets out the key decisions which will need to be taken, to be able to move towards a preferred model
  • Secretariat to arrange for issue of the stakeholder toolkit and Comms strategy to IRG members
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