Putting learners at the centre: response to the independent advisor on education reform's report

Response to the report by the independent advisor on education reform, Professor Ken Muir.

A qualifications and assessment body

Professor Muir’s recommendations (3, 4 and 5)

3. A new body, Qualifications Scotland, should be established. This new body should be an Executive Non-Departmental Public Body (NDPB). It should take on board SQA’s current Awarding functions, chiefly the responsibility for the design and delivering of qualifications, the operation and certification of examinations, and the awarding of certificates.

4. Income-generating contract services currently provided by SQA for organisations, governments and businesses, should be included in the remit of the new NDPB. SQA’s current international work should also be part of the NDPB’s remit.

5. The governance structure of the proposed Qualifications Scotland body should be revised to include more representation from and accountability to all learners, teachers, practitioners and the stakeholders with whom it engages.

Initial response

Fully accept: this new body will be ambitious for Scotland and Scotland’s learners, and will provide high integrity qualifications which meet the current and future needs of our society, our economy and our learners. The breadth of awarding functions will be retained, recognising the importance of both national and vocational qualifications and acknowledging the opportunity to extend these services and reach beyond Scotland where appropriate and beneficial.

We will ensure that the new body has the investment and resources it needs to transform the operating models, qualifications and services alongside those in the wider education and skills system.

The new body, the name of which will be considered further, will reflect the culture and values we want to see embedded throughout our education and skills system, one that puts learners at the centre, supports our teachers and practitioners, and instils integrity, fairness and accountability throughout our approach to recognising achievements in education. The principle that assessment, including examinations, should follow from the purposes of the curriculum, and not be seen to lead them, will be embedded in its work.

For this new organisation, we will develop a governance structure that delivers on those values and gives learners and service users throughout the education and skills system clear roles in how qualifications are devised, delivered, supported, awarded and recognised.

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