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Renfrewshire education bosses reassure parents over new exams.

Education chiefs have moved to reassure parents in Renfrewshire that their children will sit the exam most suited to their abilities during the transition from Highers to the new Level 6 Higher qualification.

Councillor Jacqueline Henry, Convener of Renfrewshire Council’s Education Policy Board, said, “We want to ensure that we do the best for all of the pupils in our schools. We don’t want any child to be disadvantaged by being presented for an exam for which they haven’t had an opportunity to prepare properly.

“We have full confidence in the professional judgement of our teachers and head teachers. They know their pupils best and the decision on which exam pupils sit will be left up to individual schools in consultation with parents.

“We have been teaching the National 4 and 5 qualifications in Renfrewshire’s 11 secondary schools since the start of the current school year as part of our roll-out of the Curriculum for Excellence.

“The content of some Level 6 courses is radically different under the Curriculum for Excellence than the previous Highers. However the Scottish Qualifications Authority hasn’t yet provided schools with details of the marking guidelines for the new exams and these aren’t going to be published until March or April.

“Without these guidelines it is very difficult for schools to develop course work, assist with revision or know which areas of study are important for pupils to address.

“Teachers are being hamstrung by the lack of information that is available. The Scottish Government allotted two extra in-service days for teachers to prepare for the new Nation 4 and 5 qualifications but no extra time has been made available for Level 6 courses.

“While we are calling on the Scottish Government to provide adequate time and resources for schools to prepare for the new qualifications, we want parents to know that we have their child’s best interests at heart and the decision on which exam they sit will be taken by the people best placed to judge their abilities.”

From the 2015/16 school year all candidates will sit the new Level 6 Higher qualification.