24 December 2012
I looked around Stevenson College Photographic Unit and spoke with one or two of the tutors there and it looked astounding. five stars for facilities, award winning and first impressions. Now Stevenson has amalgumated with Telford College and Jewel and Esk to form Edinburgh College. I suggest you make yourselves aware of how things work with education, standards, marking and qualifications with regard to the SQA, before you start your education. The facts revealed -
HOW AND WHY THE GOVERNMENT AND THE SPSO TURN A BLIND EYE TO COMPLAINTS OF POOR STANDARDS AND MARK FIXING IN COLLEGES.
TELFORD COLLEGE (Assessors changing students work, mark fixing, blundered external assessment and absolutely no authority in authority to do to anything about it, not even the Scottish Government)
Telford College, Stevenson College and Jewel and Esk have now amalumated to form Edinburgh College. I suggest you make yourselves aware of how things work with education, standards, marking and qualifications with regard to the SQA, before you start your education. The facts revealed -
I gave one star to Telford College because zero is not given as an option. I give this course no rating what so ever. Unless you’re up for a relaxed box ticking couple of years. I spent two years complaining about the teaching standards along with other students. Day in, day out, sitting or standing around doing nothing. You could have phoned me for five minutes to keep me up to date. I warned the head of the department that my complaints about the tutors/College assessors was going to seriously effect their marking of my HND.
I was right. Two years top of the class, then within 48 hours down to the very bottom of the class for the HND. I returned my HND qualification to the (Scottish Qualifications Authority) SQA and when they sent it back to me I tore it up and returned it a second time. Complaints about this course every single year, but they are dealt with internally and never see the light of day. Self regulating and answerable to no outside authority what so ever. How dare you complain about us ! We’ll show you !
But now it seems all Colleges, including the new Edinburgh College have the authority to sit beyond the reach of public regulatory body’s, the law and even beyond the politicies of Government and ‘pass’, or destroy, completely unchecked.
The Scottish Public Service Ombudsman has just responded to my having had my HND Graded Unit proposal introduction taken from me by my tutor, reworded, rephrased and rewritten, who then gave me half marks for what he himself had written, described as ‘ambiguous, broad, insular and vague’ and then removed all 40 photographs from my project, and reselected 20 photographs of his own choice and changing the presentation in the process. All on the day before the submission. All evidenced on written record and audio recorded meeting. Here’s the crazy thing – Your tutor, is the College Assessor, marking his own students. Submissions and pass rates can be assured by the College, directly. But here’s the interesting part – the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman (SPSO) have told me that it was MY fault for letting my tutor/College assessor change my project and for doing what I was told !
Quote – ‘You should not have submitted a piece of work which you felt had been subject to undue influence and / or lacked integrity’.
Perhaps when I realised that all HND photoshop is sourced from ONE book by Scott Kelby, I should have stopped listening due to lack of integrity. Or when half the lectures were spent watching Youtube, or when a whole day was spent listening to the classes favourite music tracks on Youtube, I think the SPSO are right, I shouldn’t have submitted any work throughout the entire course, due to lack of integrity.
So, it’s official folks. Students (aged 16 to 99) should NOT listen to their tutors. If what your tutors tell you doesn’t sound right then, on the advice of the Scottish Public Service Ombudsman, it is your responsibility to ignore them. Your tutors are the College Assessors who will (in my case, the very next day) be marking the work they have just changed. But the message is – If you think you know better than your College Assessors, and what they say sound as though it lacks integrity (which in most cases refers to most of you, most of the time) then walk away.
Suffer the consequences if you listen to them…. and suffer the consequences if you don’t. Perhaps better to just not give them the chance to even see your work in the first place and stay at home. That’s not a mixed message is it ?
Here is the list of reasons sent to me in response to my complaint going to the Scottish Minister for Education with regard to the complaint about cheating and result fixing at Telford (not permitted to use their email directly, because it’s not for publicity?) – No investigation has been carried out, because Ministers have: ‘no legal power’, ‘no educational expertise’, ‘no ability to contradict or interfere’, ‘no authority’ and ‘no right to intervene’? All that said in one letter. No investigation. In other words – ‘Do Not Disturb’.
In short, no one monitors or questions the authority of a College: not the SQA, not the SPSO and not the government. Quite the reverse; all go out of their way to actually protect this ‘emporer has lovely clothes’ status quo.
So, Scottish Education Ministers have no authority over Colleges ? Have they not got the authority to find someone who has ?
The Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) refuse to communicate, insisting that the only way for a student/member of the public to communicate with them with regards to a complaint… is through their College. Handy. Needless to say, Telford College declined my request for an appeal: their response to my letter and my recording of the meeting I had with them admitting to the cheating – ‘Not justified, not justified, not justified, not justified’. (repeated 4 times, bold print). The most obtuse reply imaginable, supported by the principal.
And as for the SQA External Verifier – Marking a five month photographic project, examining a 1500 word proposal, an eight page annotated workbook with over twenty discussed images, 20 A3 prints, a 1500 word evaluation and the marking and comments made by the College assessors. I was marked down across the board having 12% deducted and taken from an A down to a B. How many hours did this take to assess and complete… three hours….four maybe?? No, all twelve students were marked before lunch. Under 20 minutes allocated to read, study, discuss and mark each HND Graded Unit qualification. Are you people insane, stupid or just overwhelmingly arrogant? Or is it just that they know that they can get away with this insult to intelligence and sham. I think the latter. It truly sickens me to think I just wasted three years of my life believing in this fraud.
The External Verifier deducted marks for ‘not experimenting’ and ‘for not using the work from other units’ on the course (portrait, landscape, photojournalism, documentary, environment, image editing etc) NO-WHERE in the Scottish HND GU2 Qualification Specifications, or the brief, or the Summative, is this mentioned as a requirement. Marks wrongly deducted. No one in the system prepared to respond to this problem, that cost me my degree, along with the poor teaching standards. The External Verifier doesn’t have to follow the specifications and guidelines of the education system (in too much of a rush), he just makes it up as he goes along, and NO-ONE asks questions, not a soul. Corrupt and out of control. The response – Let it go!
Isn’t it ironic, throughout the entire course, an insistence on discussing and explaining photographs and marking. For the HND, not a word, no discussion, no justification, just go away. Endless requests asking for an explanation for the comments and marking – the replies….
SPSO response – ‘I can see no supportable claim of maladministration in respect of this complaint’.
SQA – ‘We consider this matter to be closed and will not continue to correspond with you’.
Telford College – NOT JUSTIFIED, NOT JUSTIFIED, NOT JUSTIFIED, NOT JUSTIFIED.
Minister for Education. – Ministers hope you can ‘put this experience behind you’
So then show me where in the Scottish HND GU2 Qualification Specifications or the brief, or summative where it states I should have experimented and used work from other units !!
That folks is your wonderful Education system and Scottish Public Services Ombudsman in action. Departments of highly paid box tickers.
Told once again to formally complain to the SQA by the Ombudsman about their external verifier breaking the rules by seriously deviating from education specifications, so just did that, and the SQA response – same as before, refuse to comment. The SQA then tell me that if I am not satisfied with their response… to take my complaint to the Ombudsman, who tell me to take it to the SQA…. I am told once again that I have to get the College to complain and appeal for me. The College refuse. Ask the government – and they say they have not got the authority to get involved ! What a perfect system for a 100% record of excellence. Above and beyond the manipulation and rewriting of students work, there’s one simple question being asked here – where it is written a student has to ‘experiment’ and ‘use work from other units’? No-one can do it.
Telford College – 4th Aug 2011-
‘With regards to the actual grade awarded by the external verifier, I’m afraid the College cannot re-appeal against this as SQA are the awarding body and have validated the external verifier’s grade. This was confirmed to me again today by SQA’.
SQA – 13th Dec 2012-
The College have continued to accept and agree with
the Verifier decision and no appeal has been submitted to SQA from the
centre’.‘SQA are unable to register this as a complaint as the college have not
submitted an appeal on your behalf and have accepted and agree with the
outcome of External verification’.
We did appeal, no we didn’t, yes we did, the SQA wouldn’t let us, the College never asked, yes we did.
SQA – 13th Dec 2012 – ‘This matter is now
closed and SQA will enter into no further correspondence on this issue’.
I am told by the Education Minister (not permitted to quote the letter from his department directly) that it is ‘extremely regrettable’ that College Assessors were mistaken about the standards required for the HND Photography course at Telford, but I should put the experience behind me, take back the down graded certificate and drop the complaint. I should be proud of the qualification, at any level.
If a governments education department has no authority to investigate, made absolute, then they have no authority to comment or advise on the matter!
The final response from the Scottish Public Services Ombudsman with a complaint against this ‘public service’ -
Why your complaint cannot be taken further.
Having reviewed your complaints I have found areas which this office cannot, by law, look into. The Ombudsman must not investigate the action of a body in the exercise of academic judgement relating to an education or training matter.
Neither the government or the SPSO have any authority over teachers and the SQA. Fix marks, help students, refuse appeals, ignore complaints, lie through your teeth and take the money. I think you will find that every institution out there is run like this.
I don’t know about dumbing down society with regards to students, but it sure as hell has worked with everyone above them! 18 MONTHS SO FAR TRYING TO GET A RESPONSE !!! Shut up and go away! This mature student isn’t going to go away. A £12,000 loan for a fraud.
Footnote – Do not confuse the Students Union with ‘Unions’ they will advise you about rent, money and condoms and they work for and with the College.
For more information on this subject-
zeitgeistmovie.com moving forward. Go to – 2h 14m 40 secs
20 November 2008
I currently attend Stevenson as a night class student.
The building itself is nice inside and the staff are friendly and helpful. It has a great canteen and good facilities.
They offer a good range of courses, both full and part time.
It’s location is a bit out of the way and not in the nicest of places, but it is served well with buses.
14 November 2008
great college, great staff, great teachers and great food. I just think they should get some more veggie stuff and the building itself is located in a terrible area.
1 November 2007
I have attended this college twice and I think it is a very good college if you are considering places to study. It is on the west side of Edinburgh and is very accessible from all over the city. The staff are very friendly and treat students with respect and always have time to answer any questions you may have. Offiec staff and personnel are always willing to lend a hand aswell. The college cafe boosts a Starbucks and has a great choice of meals at reasonable prices.
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