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A different attitude north of the border

According to Education Scotland, the improvement in examination performance north of the border - where Scotland's pupils have achieved the best results since records began - has meant pupils are leaving school better qualified thanks to "the strengths of a broad-based education". Further south any improvement in performance is put down to grade inflation and fiddling of controlled assessments by teachers; the probable consequence being the narrowing of choice throughout the system, be it by examination board, syllabus or choice of English Baccalaureate subjects. While noting the contrasting approaches, we should all have sympathy for our awarding bodies currently struggling to engineer a new system capable of recognising genuine improvements in performance without the help of tiering, modules or any form of coursework.

Neil Roskilly, Chief executive officer, the Independent Schools Association.

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