LONG knife of Jack McConnell, the Education Minister, has finally put paid to two-thirds of the 24-strong board of the Scottish Qualifications Authority.
Only eight have survived the purge and taken up temporary duties in monitoring the work of the troubled exams body.
Under the new chairmanship of Professor John Ward, former head of IBM in Scotland, they will hold office until further decisions are taken about the authority's long-term structures and relationship to ministers. The reports of the parliamentary inquiries into the exams debacle are not expected until next month.
Sam Galbraith, the previous minister, had pressed for a smaller board, but it was Mr McConnell who wielded the inevitable blade. Board members "offered their resignations".
Survivors are Pat Cairns, head of Firrhill High, Edinburgh; Margaret Nicol, presiden of the Educational Institute of Scotland and a principal teacher at Madras College, St Andrews; Linda McKay, principal of Falkirk College: and Shelagh Rae, director of education in Renfrewshire.
Continuing on the business side are Ian Hay, chief executive of the Scottish Association of Master Bakers; Iain McMillan, director of the CBI in Scotland; Ian Muir, chairman of the board of management at Jewel and Esk Valley College, Edinburgh; and Charles Munn, chief executive of the Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland.
Mr McConnell said he had acted in line with the recommendations from the independent Deloitte amp; Touche report about the size of the board. "Accepting resignations from some board members and asking that others be withdrawn does not imply any blame on particular individuals for this year's failures," he said.