Exam paper shock

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It is with incredulity that I read that the learning minister, Alasdair Allan, believed that the availability of sample papers for the new national exams to be sat in six weeks’ time was “adequate” (your report, 26 February).

The Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) said there was less need for them under the new system. Both are wrong. Worried teachers, parents and pupils agree with me.

The SQA has made one sample paper available for each subject on its website but seems blind to the irony that directly under the link to each sample paper is an advert/link to Hodder Education:

“Hodder Education have ­produced sets of additional model papers. These include ­copies of the SQA specimen ­question papers and are available to buy now”, all for only £8.99 per subject!

Are the SQA and Hodder ­Education in financial cahoots, or am I being overly cynical?

In some schools, S4 pupils study eight subjects so that makes £71.92 per hard-pressed family. This is direct discrimination against the impoverished.

Alasdair Allan and the Scottish Government should immediately broker a deal with Hodder ­Education to make their “model papers and extra revision guidance… an essential purchase for any student” available to all ­pupils through the SQA website, whatever the family income.

Alasdair Allan should spend some of the additional £5 million now to benefit all learners sitting national exams this year, or does he believe that better than “adequate” is only for those who can afford it?

David Muir

Findhorn Place

Edinburgh