SQA seeking additional funding as Curriculum for Excellence costs spiral

National 4 and national 5 qualifications replaced standard grade and highers in new Curriculum for Excellence

THE Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is seeking an extra PS4.9m in funding from the Scottish Government, on top of the PS14.1m extra in funds it has already requested, as costs of transition to the new Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) exams and qualifications spiral.

CfE replaces the old standard grade and higher exams with national 4 and national 5 qualifications.

The costs in making the transition have been much more than expected, with teachers requiring extra support and problems with the new national 5's meaning two exams - the old and new ones - have to be run concurrently.

An SQA spokesperson told the Herald: "CfE represents a change in approach to learning and assessment and in the way education is delivered in our schools and colleges, impacting on the required implementation and ongoing development costs, such as the dual-running of the current and new national qualifications this year.

"We fully anticipated this change in costs and throughout the year have been in constant dialogue with the Scottish Government to provide transparency on the funding required to deliver a successful qualifications programme." (Click here to read more).

The EIS teachers union said that the new money had to be spent on addressing the "excessive workload burden" for teachers.

Andrea Bradley, the union's assistant secretary for education, said: "We are seeking urgent action by the SQA to...relieve pressure on pupils and to tackle the excessive workload burden that is currently being placed on teachers as a consequence of assessment design.

"The aim of this would be to lighten the load of internal assessment and the weight of its accompanying bureaucracy, creating more valuable time and space to devote to good quality learning and teaching.

"We have also called on the SQA to produce additional specimen papers with marking schemes to assist in the preparation of candidates for final exams."

This position was backed by Scottish Greens MSP Alison Johnstone, who said that more time for learning and teaching and less bureaucracy was needed.

She said: "The roll out of new National and Higher exams has clearly required more support for teachers and it's essential that the Scottish Government resources this properly.

"Looking ahead, it's equally important that the SQA looks for ways to minimise bureaucracy for teachers, so they have more time for learning and teaching."

A teacher speaking under anonymity told CommonSpace that if the SQA had provided the specimen papers and other support requested by teachers initially it wouldn't be running to catch up now.

Picture courtesy of Pete