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Low payback for high-level PE

Physical education teachers in Scotland will be aware that national units in "physical education: performance" may be given to reward and encourage excellence in sport. They may not, however, realise that this SQA policy can leave talented performers who study certificate PE worse off than their less talented peers.

Current arrangements allow teachers to award the performance unit at Higher level to particularly talented pupils on the Intermediate 2 course. When these pupils go on to study the subject at Higher, they cannot be awarded the Higher performance unit again, so it is not listed with the other units achieved on the Higher course in the detailed record of achievement certificate. It is buried in the Intermediate 2 group award.

Since nine SCQF points at level 6 have been awarded for the performance unit within the Intermediate 2 course, only 15 points out of 24 remain to be awarded at level 6 for successful participation on the Higher course - with the effect that the pupil actually loses out on nine points at level 5 (Int 2).

Higher pupils who are less talented in performance and have not been "rewarded" in this manner end up with a greater number of SCQF points at level 5, the same number of points at level 6 and a clearer indication of what they have achieved in their Higher year on their record of achievement certificates.

The rationale behind this policy is laudable. However, plucking national units from certificate courses without considering the consequences for pupils who go on to study the full certificate course has resulted in an anomaly that disfavours some talented pupils.

M Easson, St Ninians Road, Linlithgow.

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