Scotland’s largest teaching union has been “inundated” with correspondence from computing teachers about significant changes to the National 5 course, just weeks before they are due to start teaching the qualification.
In a letter to Janet Brown, the chief executive of exam body the SQA, the EIS union says that teachers of computing, biology and physics have met the last-minute changes to their subjects at N5 with “alarm, dismay and deep anger”.
EIS assistant secretary Andrea Bradley wrote that the agreement when unit assessments were scrapped was that elements assessed only in the units would migrate to the course or exam assessment. However, she said that the EIS “remains to be convinced that changes have been limited in this way”.
According to Kate Farrell, a computing teacher in Edinburgh, some new content had been added to N5, while other content had been removed.
For instance, teachers would now have to deliver training in four different programming languages, as opposed to three.
But the security risks and protections part of the course had been removed.
Teachers delivering the N5 qualification over two years might find they had covered content that was no longer on the course, Ms Farrell said.
She added: “For most teachers this has been a shock. It’s disappointing that this has happened once again. I understand that courses need to keep up-to-date but we need a bit of stability for a while.
“Computing teachers are like all other teachers – we’re really struggling and need some room to breathe.”
An SQA spokesman said: “The mandatory course content now contains material that was within the unit specifications, as well as content from the bank of optional coursework tasks.”