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Shirley-Anne Somerville says new exam body ‘won’t happen overnight’

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville says creating a new exams body to replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority “will take time” and may require Holyrood legislation.

It comes ahead of a ministerial statement by the SNP politician this afternoon, giving more details on plans for the new specialist agency.

A damning independent review published on Monday was dubbed the “final nail” in Scotland’s flawed education system.

One of its recommendations is for the SQA to be broken up and replaced as part of a “substantial” overhaul.

Ms Somerville told BBC Good Morning Scotland that the process will “take time” and will “perhaps need to go to parliament for some legislation”.

She said it “isn’t going to be an overnight change”, adding that she has “faith in the SQA to deliver the qualifications this year”.

The new education secretary has pledged to take forward all 12 recommendations from the OECD’s independent review, including replacing the SQA.

The report has called for the SQA to be replaced with a new exams body.

The long-awaited report on Scotland’s Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) said the country should bin its “19th century” exams system if the controversial programme is to ever work properly.

Ms Somerville has pledged to bring forward all 12 recommendations from the OECD’s report – including replacing the SQA.

When asked if there will be a change to the way exams are sat in Scotland, the education secretary told the BBC that a separate report will be published at the end of August looking specifically at qualifications.

The Scottish Government will make a formal response to the report at Holyrood on Tuesday outlining more of the changes required.

‘Lazy defensiveness’

Former First Minister Lord Jack McConnell told the BBC he thought the “whole package needs to go a bit further”.

The former Education Minister said the implementation of the Curriculum for Excellence had become “far too bureaucratic” and “far too complicated”.

Lord Jack McConnell has been highly critical of the SNP government’s record in education.

The former maths teacher said there needs to be “real resources, dedication, attention and action” to implement the recommendations.

He added: “I hope we’re not going to see the kind of lazy defensiveness we’ve seen for the last decade.

“It really is time for change and let’s get Scottish education on its way back up the ladder, rather than down.”

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