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Education News

Exams fiasco: one resignation, one suspension

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has announced that one of its senior officials had left and a second had been suspended.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has announced that one of its senior officials had left and a second had been suspended.

Jack Greig, SAQ head of operations and the man directly responsible for the administration of exams, had been suspended.

David Eliot, director of awards and in charge of the exam certificates which had been hit by missing and inaccurate entries, had left his job "by mutual agreement", it said.

The moves came as the embattled agency pledged it would "clarify" the results of more than 2,000 pupils whose Standard Grade certificates were incomplete and inaccurate, three weeks after their grades were due.

More than 4,000 pupils who sat Scottish Standard Grade exams, the equivalent of GCSEs, received incomplete or inaccurate certificates earlier this month at the same time as more than 5,000 students sitting Highers were also hit by the chaos.

The SQA said it would have 2,000 results "clarified" by tonight, with schools told of the new grades tomorrow and pupils learning by post on Friday and the other 2,000 grades completed later this week.

The authority's chief executive Bill Morton said Mr Greig's suspension and Mr Eliot's departure had nothing to do with a wide-ranging internal review which he had launched.

"The review will show us the way ahead and ensure that there is no repetition of the problems which we have had this year," said Mr Morton, who was appointed after the debacle emerged and the resignation of the former chief executive Ron Tuck.

"I am determined not to let the young people of Scotland down again. At the same time it is important to demonstrate that the SQA is addressing individual responsibility and where it fits within the recovery process," he added.

University admissions bosses also confirmed today that entries to Scottish universities had been affected by the fiasco, with the number of Scottish students going into the institutions down by 4.1%.

The news came as teachers questioned the accuracy of all the Standard Grade exams and pointed to serious inconsistencies in marking.

One head teacher said he planned to make 10 times the normal number of appeals for pupils who sat Standard Grade maths this year and who the school believed had been "undermarked".

But the SQA played down the fears and said the inaccurate and incomplete certificates had been down to the "data handling errors" which had also affected Highers and Certificate of Sixth Year Study exams.

A spokesman said the administration of the marking system would come into the remit of a top-level inquiry into the embattled organisation.

"We are fully aware that the processing of information has not been up to scratch this year," he said.

"We believe that in general the marking for all of the exams taken over the 2000 diet had integrity and to criticise the marking is to criticise the teachers who do it."