Scotland’s schools watchdog should be broken up and the national exams body must be overhauled as neither organisation is “fit for purpose”, the Scottish Liberal Democrats said.
On Wednesday, MSPs will vote on a motion from the party which would divide up Education Scotland’s inspection and policy roles.
The Lib Dems also want to see the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) reorganised to be more accountable and “grounded in the teaching profession”.
The exams body came under intense scrutiny last year due to its role in the system which estimated pupil grades, which was ultimately abandoned.
Lib Dem leader Willie Rennie said both organisations should have been reformed before the pandemic hit.
He said: “Education Scotland and the SQA’s days are numbered.
“They have let hardworking teachers, pupils and parents down throughout this pandemic.
“At a time of disruption and worry, instead of making peoples’ jobs and lives easier, they have made them harder.
“Despite months of warnings, the SQA and John Swinney teamed up to create an exams system and algorithm that actively penalised pupils from the poorest backgrounds.
“After Education Scotland previously gave teachers 20,000 pages of guidance on Curriculum for Excellence, during this pandemic they have gone to the other end of the scale and been totally absent when people needed them.”
He continued: “Both of the Scottish Government’s education quangos have lost the confidence of those who they are supposed to serve and have repeatedly shown that they are not fit for purpose.
“Scottish Liberal Democrats will this week ask Parliament to overhaul them as an essential part of the recovery of education.
“Education Scotland and the SQA cannot be trusted with the critical job of helping the education system bounce back.”
Deputy First Minister John Swinney said: “Teachers, support staff and other professionals working in education – in schools, colleges, councils and our national agencies – have supported Scotland’s children and young people very well throughout the pandemic, including during periods of remote learning.
“Despite the challenges of the pandemic, our partners in education have continued to contribute to important work on the future of Scottish education, such as the independent review of Curriculum for Excellence led by the OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development) and in preparing for alternative approaches to certification.
“For that they deserve thanks and recognition from Parliament.
“The suggestion that Education Scotland should be separated into independent inspection and policy functions shows a misunderstanding of their role.
“The Scottish Government, not Education Scotland, is responsible for policy on education. Education Scotland is the national improvement agency for education.”
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