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Enterprise chief parachutes in

THE man landed with the challenge of restoring the SQA's credibility is Bill Morton, chief executive of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, who also has a senior staff development role with the Scottish Enterprise network.

David Miller, the SQA's chairman, is vice-chairman of Scottish Enterprise Forth Valley, but did not suggest Mr Morton's name for the post of interim chief executive although he had "the necessary managerial skills and toughness of mind" to do the job.

The SQA crisis took on a wider political dimension as Opposition politicians continued to press for the head of Sam Galbraith, Children and Education Minister, forcing Donald Dewar, the First Minister, to spring to his defence on Monday.

Mr Gabraith said he first became aware of problems in March but received repeated assurances from the SQA that it was dealing with them. He has now moved swiftly, calling in independent consultants to carry out an investigation.

While Mr Galbraith is the schools minister, responsibility for the SQA rests with the Department of Enterprise and Lifelong Learning, which is headed by Henry McLeish.

The exam crisis has given added impetus to the significance of the review of the first year of Higher Still, announced by Mr Galbraith in July. The Educational Institute of Scotland wrote to Mr Dewar this week calling on him to simplify the new course assessments which it believes have exacerbated the SQA's problems.

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