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HMI takes top job in exam merger

Ron Tuck, chief inspector of schools and leading architect of the Higher Still reforms, has been appointed chief executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Mr Tuck, aged 47, has had HMI responsibility for the 14-18 curriculum and is expected to assume the Pounds 65,000-Pounds 75,000 post in January. The SQA takes over from the Scottish Examination Board and the Scottish Vocational Education Council in April.

The appointment was made from a strong field of six candidates: Frank Pignatelli, Strathclyde's former director of education; David Elliot, an SEB director; Dennis Gunning, a director of Scotvec; Peter Duncan, principal of the Central College of Commerce in Glasgow; and Lena Coile, development director with Forth Valley Enterprise.

Mr Tuck's background is entirely in FE, having begun and ended his teaching career at Angus College where he became a senior lecturer before joining the Inspectorate in 1985. He had various FE responsibilities as an HMI, including oversight of the ground-breaking National Certificate and Scottish Vocational Qualifications.

Mr Tuck began to make his mark as an adviser to the Howie committee and then as co-ordinator of the responses to its report during the consultation period.

After Howie's prescription was rejected despite acceptance of the report's critique of upper secondary education, Mr Tuck moved effectively to take charge of the Higher Still development programme in 1994.

His appointment to the SQA was made by a panel heavily weighted towards the Scottish Office and vocational education. This consisted of Gerald Wilson, head of the Scottish Office Education and Industry Department; Douglas Osler, senior chief inspector of schools; David Miller, chairman of the SQA; and Kathleen Anderson, former depute principal of Napier University.

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