Teachers marking exam scripts hit with 13 per cent pay cut

Teaching union says payment rates for marking exam scripts has been cut without warning by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
Teaching union says payment rates for marking exam scripts has been cut without warning by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
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Teachers in Scotland marking examination scripts have had their payment cut by 13 per cent without warning.

Delegates at the opening day of the 2018 annual NASUWT (National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers) annual conference in Glasgow today said they discovered by chance that payment rates had been cut by the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) from £4.75 to £4.11 per folio for subjects including National 5 English.

The union voted to lobby the Scottish Government to ensure a fair payment rate for markers and is to gather information to launch a campaign fighting the move.

Mike Corbett, of the union’s officers’ committee, proposing the motion, said: “Any kind of reduction in the pay rate is not acceptable.

“At a recent meeting the SQA told markers they needed to mark ‘slowly and carefully’ but were unable to answer questions on how they had come to this new pay rate. Then the official started talking about an hourly rate, something we’ve never been made aware even existed.”

Eddie Carroll, the union’s president in Scotland, seconding the motion, said it takes at least 10 years for teachers to be deemed experienced enough by the SQA to mark examination scripts,

“We’re talking about a university degree, a post-grad, teaching experience before you’re even considered to be marker, and then you sit a special test.

“Why should teachers sell themselves so short?.. There is no doubt marking is a good experience which can make you a better resource for pupils and teachers.”

“But don’t fall for the line that ‘teaching is a vocation, it’s a job’.” Mr Carroll said.

A spokesman for the SQA, said: “We carry out regular reviews of rates of pay for our markers based on data about how long it takes them to process each script or assignment and based on feedback from our marker teams.

“In the interests of fairness, SQA has sought to re calibrate marker payments.

“This means that the payment per script or assignment paper for some subjects will increase, while for others it will reduce in accordance with the time needed to mark it.

“But not all of these markers will see their income from SQA drop as many also mark other components within a subject where the fee is being increased and so will see a rise in income.

“For example, in history, where there are a number of components at National 5, the marker fee per question paper will rise while the fee per assignment will reduce slightly.”