Public appointment: members reappointed to Scottish Qualifications Authority

Public appointment news release.

The Cabinet Secretary of Education and Skills, Shirley-Anne Somerville MSP, today announced the reappointments of Wendy Mayne, Jane Handley, Seán Hagney and Hamish McKay as Members of the Scottish Qualifications Authority.


Wendy Mayne was Deputy Head of Department Nursing and Community Health at Glasgow Caledonian University. She brings to the Authority a wealth of experience of managing and leading education within the Higher Education Sector. She has a Professional Doctorate in the management and leadership of education, and has been involved in curriculum, teaching, learning and assessment. She has also worked for many years within Further Education, working at the interface between these sectors within post-compulsory education. In her current role she provides strategic leadership for learning and teaching, corporate governance, managing performance and change management, analysis and decision making, constructive and supportive challenge, effective communication, and co-operative and collaborative working. These skills are transferable, and highly relevant to the work of SQA.

Jane Handley has over 25 years’ experience working in Scotland’s Colleges, her most recent post being Head of Faculty at Edinburgh College, where she developed partnerships with local authorities, schools and employers with a focus on widening access, improving learner experiences and promoting further education to young people. She chaired the College’s steering group for Developing the Young Workforce, a strategy to better prepare young people for the world of work. Jane was a lecturer in Computing and Information Technology in Glasgow and Edinburgh and developed materials for classroom use and remote learning. She has an extensive academic and practical background, including curriculum planning and review, widening participation and quality enhancement. Jane is Convenor of the Advisory Council and is a member of the Qualifications Committee and the Accreditation Committee. She has served on other Boards of Management, including the Student Awards Agency for Scotland where she was also a member of the Audit and Risk Committee and is a non-executive director of Access to Industry, a registered charity that works with individuals to support them into education and employment.

Seán Hagney brings over 25 years of experience within education in Scotland. Currently Head Teacher of a large secondary school in Dundee, Seán took up his current post in 2021 after 7 years as Head Teacher of an all-through school in Perth. He has held a wide range of SQA appointee posts, including as a marker, Convener of an Assessment Panel, a CARG member and has contributed to writing arrangements documents. From 2008-10 Seán was seconded to Learning and Teaching Scotland as part of the Assessment Team. Within schools, he has experience as an SQA coordinator and Head of Centre, working closely with SQA to ensure successful exam diets. Seán has been a Board member since 2016, a member of the Qualifications Committee and is Vice-Convener of the Advisory Council.

Hamish McKay is a qualified accountant, risk assurance and governance professional and has worked many years in large complex organisations. He has been a Board member with SQA since 2016 and chaired the Audit Committee throughout that period. He was Chief Internal Auditor at the University of Edinburgh for fifteen years and had the same role within the NHS for a further seven years. For six years he was an elected member of his professional accountancy body's global Council, which oversees members' accreditation and professional standards, serving on the audit committee for five years. He is on a panel of senior professional internal auditors used by the Institute of Internal Auditors to respond to requests from organisations in all sectors of the UK to provide external quality assurance assessments of that organisation's internal audit service. He is Secretary of the Newbattle Abbey College Trust on a part time basis, providing administrative support to the trustees.


Seán Hagney will be reappointed from 31 January 2022 until 31 July 2024.

Jane Handley and Wendy Mayne will be reappointed from 14 February 2022 until
14 August 2024.

Hamish McKay will be reappointed from 31 January 2022 until 30 January 2023.

These reappointments are regulated by the Ethical Standards Commissioner.

Remuneration and time commitment

These reappointments are part-time and attract a remuneration of £225.26 per day for a time commitment of 23 days per year.

Other ministerial appointments

Wendy Mayne, Jane Handley, Seán Hagney and Hamish McKay do not hold any other public appointments.

Political activity

All appointments are made on merit and political activity plays no part in the selection process. However, in accordance with the original Nolan recommendations, there is a requirement for appointees’ political activity within the last five years (if there is any to be declared) to be made public. 

Wendy Mayne, Jane Handley, Seán Hagney and Hamish McKay have had no political activity within the last five years.

Scottish Qualifications Authority

SQA is the national accreditation and awarding body for Scotland. The SQA works in partnership with schools, colleges, universities and training organisations to develop and deliver SQA qualifications and assessments. 

The SQA also awards a range of other qualifications, including customised awards to meet the needs of individual companies and organisations. In addition, the SQA provides advice, support and services, such as expertise in assessment, that enable organisations to succeed in meeting a wide range of educational and workforce development challenges.

Internationally the SQA provides a range of qualifications including National Certificates, Higher National Diplomas, National Progression Awards, Professional Development Awards and Scottish Vocational Qualifications. The SQA also provides Consultancy Services which help establish educational and training supply chains where they don’t exist or require further development. This work, based on best practice, has been carried out with governments and agencies around the world.

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