... and pushing fast tracking again

5th June 1998 at 01:00
THE SCOTTISH Office is to hold consultations in the autumn which will revive controversy over "fast-tracking". Graham Donaldson, the depute senior chief inspector, told the conference the Government would be seeking views on how the new level F of 5-14 would dovetail with Standard grade and Higher Still.

He questioned whether "it makes any sense for some pupils, who will be at level F at the end of S2, to wait for two years when they may be capable of gaining a Credit award at Standard grade in their third year".

The idea of allowing some pupils to sit Standard grade exams a year early was first mooted in the original Higher Still proposals. But the unions opposed it vigorously. They feared the most able pupils might even be streamed in primary school.

When Lord James Douglas-Hamilton was Education Minister, he put the issue on the back burner during his attempt at a rapprochement with the unions.

Mr Donaldson made clear after his speech that any move towards sitting Standard grade exams in the third year, which would allow the ablest youngsters to take Highers in the fourth year, would involve a relatively small number of pupils.

"There is no intention to change the position where Standard grade remains the main examination diet for pupils in third and fourth year," he told The TES Scotland.

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