22 January 2020

Today in the Education and Skills Committee, Scottish Labour Education Spokesperson, Iain Gray, raised concerns over the Scottish Qualification Authority’s policy of charging for unsuccessful exam appeals.

Iain Gray questioned whether the policy discriminates against pupils in state education, citing the disparity in the rates of appeals between independent schools and state schools.

Commenting, Iain Gray said:

“Labour has been saying for years now, that the SQA’s charging for its re-marking service, replacing free appeals, has slashed access to the service for state school pupils.

The SQA has acknowledged today that the appeals charging policy was designed as a disincentive to apply to the service, but its stubborn refusal to acknowledge the inequity built in to the system is frustrating.

“Since the charging policy has been in place, a gulf has opened up between the proportion of independent schools and local education authority schools requesting exam appeals – with the latter requesting markedly fewer.

“The SQA was unable to provide a satisfactory answer as to why this is the case.

“Fiona Robertson, Chief Executive of the SQA, has said she is open to considering the issues around this more broadly, and having conversations with relevant parties.

"However the relevant parties she is talking to are the very ones running this unfair system.

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