Scottish council backs down over controversial school exam policy

The Herald Scotland is reporting that a controversial curriculum model at a Scottish school that was blamed for poor exam results has been scrapped.

The move by Hermitage Academy, in Helensburgh, comes after protests from parents and pupils over the way qualifications were introduced following Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) reforms.

Under CfE, there is greater flexibility over when exams are sat, but in most schools pupils sit National 5 exams in the fourth year of secondary before choosing Highers the following year.

However, at Hermitage, in Argyll and Bute, none of the pupils sit exams in their fourth year and instead choose up to six Highers, which they sit at the end of S5.

Although pupils deemed unsuitable for Highers can drop to the lower National qualifications at a later date, parents have argued that means some could reach the end of fifth year with no qualifications.

National curriculum body and inspectorate Education Scotland, who were called in to investigate, said attainment of pupils at Higher had increased since 2014 at Hermitage, but warned that lower attainment amongst some pupils was a direct result of the policy.

Now the school has agreed to introduce greater flexibility in course selection and exam presentation with the option of both one and two year courses.

A statement from Argyll and Bute Council said: “A number of key actions have been identified to securing improvement in outcomes for all young people attending Hermitage Academy. These include making changes to the current framework.”

The council also said it would improve pupil tracking across all subjects to ensure pupils were achieving at the appropriate level…

More at: Council backs down over controversial school exam policy


So it sounds like the way Hermitage Academy had decided to operate was resulting in higher attainment overall, but leaving some worse off.

Have they done the right thing now in introducing more flexibility?

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