The waiting game

EDUCATION chiefs were forced to defend their decision to delay the implementation of exams for the curriculum for excellence by one year at the Education committee on Tuesday.

East Renfrewshire council’s director of education, John Wilson, assured ministers that the decision was taken “for young people and not to protect timelines or structures”.

The decision to delay plans by one year was said to be on the advice of East Renfrewshire’s head teachers, although Mr Wilson continued to stress ERC’s commitment to the curriculum for excellence.

Under Scottish government plans, pupils currently in the second year of secondary school are to be the first to sit new national four and fives exams in 2014 which will replace Standard Grades and Intermediates.

Meanwhile, pupils in East Renfrewshire, look set to be the only ones forced to wait one more year before rejoining the rest of Scotland in one unified exam diet.

Giffnock based West of Scotland MSP Stewart Maxwell was at the meeting in his position as convener of the Scottish parliament’s education and culture committee.

He told The Extra: “I am very pleased that invitiation was accepted to discuss the matter as rammifications of ERC’s decision are widespread.

“On a personal level and as a parent in East Renfrewshire, I would dispute Mr Wilson’s comments that there had been full consultation with parents prior to this decision.

“However, now that it has been taken we must work together for the best educational outcomes for local children”.

The split continues as Dr Janet Brown of the Scottish Qualifications Authority claims the new exam timetable is “doable and achievable”, while bosses claim the new exam structure is said to “give pupils a broader based education”.

A spokesman for Education Scotland claimed there was no strong demand from other local authorities to delay.

An East Renfrewshire council spokesman said: “Our position remains exactly the same as it was before. The education committee were looking for information from all interested parties.

“This is a decision the council took some time ago as we have a unique set of circumstances.

“It does not diminish our commitment to the curriculum of excellence, which we have done more for than any other council”.