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Get a real job, exam chief tells teachers

More teachers should opt for work experience in industry as part of their professional development, the chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority has suggested.

Anton Colella said that when he was a deputy head, the time he spent with Motorola was "probably the single biggest formative experience for me in my life as a teacher up to that point". It had helped him to develop the people and management skills required for his role as head of the SQA.

In an interview with The TES Scotland this week, Mr Colella said that the week he spent was invaluable because it helped him challenge the underlying assumptions he had always held about how to manage people and manage change. This included how to innovate, lines of responsibility and hierarchies of authority.

Asked whether he thought teachers should take more advantage of opportunities in the private sector, Mr Colella replied: "Without question, yes. And now, with the post-McCrone agreement there is far more scope for CPD. This can be a very powerful component of that and it is something that teachers can organise themselves. I think there are ways we can support that."

Mr Colella is convinced that the business community would welcome the opportunity for teachers to "get a sense of the reality of the private sector and the reality of their having to train young people coming out of the school system".

He also suggested that the private sector go into schools to learn about the "fantastic way they work under very challenging circumstances and deliver such successful outcomes". It had much to learn.

Meanwhile Mr Colella has revealed that the SQA may be ready to drop its 10 per cent restriction on appeals for candidates. Speaking at last week's annual conference of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association (page four), he said there had been a 50 per cent reduction in appeals since "the darkish days of 2000".

There had been questions from teachers over whether the current 10 per cent rule was not simply a bureaucratic exercise.

The full interview appears in our 20-page CPD supplement inside Scotland Plus.

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