Who will guard the guards?
Recently, I expressed concerns to our headteacher on NABs (National Assement Banks) - after finding that a pupil who had not been in school for months had passed two in maths. In view of moderating, it seemed obvious that NABs should be administered by myself or the other maths teacher, and be in our possession.
As the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) co-ordinator had recorded these as passes, I suggested the compromise of the pupil doing the final NAB in school, under my supervision, which was agreed by the headteacher. This was subsequently reneged on: the head stated that the pupil was "uncomfortable with me" and, by inference, with the other maths teacher who was also willing to supervise. The head arranged for the pupil to be supervised by another teacher on a day when I was not expected to be in.
As this procedure was less than honest, I complained formally to the SQA, who assured me that it took complaints seriously. Shortly afterwards, the authority responded and said its investigation had left it satisfied that the pupil had been awarded all NABs fairly. My repeated requests to see proof in its decision were ignored, the only response being that I ask the head. Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
I have been an SQA exam marker for several years, undertaking duties with honesty, purpose and integrity. Much of the proposed assessment under the new curriculum will be by teachers more interested in upholding standards than in placating parents.
I am not young, so I have nothing to lose or gain, but I wonder how many younger teachers will be willing to speak up when they have issues or concerns? For the sake of Scottish education, let us hope some will - just don't forget to renew your union membership first.
Helen Wilson, maths teacher, Torr an Eas, Glenfinnan.