On examination, SQA is a law unto itself

Have your say

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has ­devised yet another revenue-­generating scheme: charging for administering appeals (“Schools to be tested over exam result fees”, 8 March).

In 2009, the SQA set the deadline for appeals at the earliest date I’d ever ­encountered in 25 years as a principal teacher, while introducing a £55 penalty per late appeal. Now it will raise money from every review request, with the exception of those based on illness or bereavement. The intention, apparently, is to discourage speculative claims.

I recall refusing to submit one such appeal because the pupil’s classwork did not justify it. Her parents complained and I was ordered by my headteacher to proceed. The SQA duly upgraded her Higher. Other appeals, supported by stronger evidence, were unsuccessful.

It is the SQA, not schools, that has fostered this ­casino approach to the ­appeals system. Now it is set to cash in at the expense of education budgets.

Recently, you reported that the Scottish Government would not be holding an inquiry into the SQA’s handling of the arrangements for assessing Curriculum for Excellence courses.

Holyrood is also dragging its feet on a petition from Aberdeenshire teachers seeking a watchdog body to oversee the workings of the SQA.

This quango remains ­accountable to no-one, and it shows.

John Samson

Blinkbonny Gardens