Markers feel cheated by late payments

4th August 2000 at 01:00
DELAYS in paying the 7,000 markers of this year's Higher and Standard grade papers are unsatisfactory, the Scottish Qualifications Authority admits.

But its hard-pressed staff and information technology systems are giving priority to preparing and sending out certificates to candidates next week.

John McCormack, principal teacher of geography at John Ogilvie High School, Hamilton, told The TES Scotland that he will not be paid until the end of August. "Anywhere else, when you do a job you expect to be paid for it promptly, within a month," he said.

Mr McCormack is owed between pound;300 and pound;400. He marked 172 Standard grade papers at General level and 149 at Credit. "But I found they had also sen me some Foundation papers in my package."

David Elliot, the SQA's director of awards, said: "We do not pretend that the time-scale for payments is other than unsatisfactory. We wrote to all markers on July 11 and we hope they will understand that it has been a challenging year for the SQA."

Mr Elliot insisted that staff were working long hours and responding well to the priority of issuing exam results, as promised, on August 9.

Markers would be paid by the end of July or in August, Mr Elliot said. But for those who had taken on extra scripts at an enhanced rate payments had to be calculated manually instead of being computer generated, and these would not be made until September.

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