Publish and be praised girl joins exam watchdog

22nd December 2000 at 00:00
A SIXTH-YEAR pupil whose views in The TES Scotland made a deep impression on the Education Minister has been chosen as a member of the Scottish Executive's exams review group, which had its first meeting on Tuesday.

The group's job is to monitor the progress of the Scottish Qualifications Authority in sorting out its problems and act as an "early warning" watchdog to ministers.

Jennifer Bryce of Cumnock Academy in East Ayrshire was among those who took part in a "Dear Minister" feature (TESS, November 10) in which a range of voices from the chalkface told Jack McConnell what they expected of him in his new job.

Jennifer said it was essential to sort out the exams mess. "You must complete your course without the so-called safety net of an appeals procedure," she wrote. "You must get straight As at the first sitting." She added: "This time next year . . . you must allow us the chance of success that was denied us in 2000."

The review group, chaired by Nicol Stephen, Deputy Minister for Education, also includes Victoria McDuff, head girl at St Modan's High in Stirling, who impressed when she gave evidence to the parliamentary exams inquiry. She also chairs Stirling Council's student forum.

Teachers will be represented by Maureen Laing, a teacher at Glenwood High in Glenrohes (Professional Association of Teachers), Kay Barnett, senior teacher at Fraserburgh Academy (Educational Institute of Scotland), John Gray, principal history teacher at Oldmachar Academy, Aberdeen (Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association) and George Haggarty, head of St John's High in Dundee (Headteachers' Association of Scotland). Neil Meldrum, head of music at Harlaw Academy, Aberdeen, is also a member.

The independent sector will be represented by Frank Gerstenberg, outgoing head of George Watson's College in Edinburgh, and FE by Tom Kelly, chief officer of the Association of Scottish Colleges, and Margaret Reuben, head of the school of child care, health and social studies at Falkirk College.

Two members of the education directorate who have been monitoring the SQA's handling of the appeals process are also drafted in: Gordon Jeyes, the Stirling director and general secretary of the Association of Directors of Education, and Michael O'Neill, the director in North Lanarkshire. Parents will be represented by Eleanor Coner, convener of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council, and Stephen McColl, a parent from Argyll.

The SQA itself will have two officials on the group and the Scottish Executive has six, including Colin MacLean, former depute head of the Inspectorate.

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