It’s unlikely there will be many tears shed over the news that Scotland’s exams body is to be axed.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has been at the centre of a series of controversies – most recently over its plans for grading secondary pupils after exams were cancelled for a second year running due to the coronavirus.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said it would be reformed shortly after she replaced John Swinney in the post last month.
She has now gone a step further by revealing she intends to scrap it altogether, and that responsibility for inspecting schools will be taken away from Education Scotland.
Mixed results from review
It follows a review of the Curriculum for Excellence (CfE) by the Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development.
The international body found much to like about the CfE, which was introduced to classrooms in 2010, but said pupils were being let down by a 19th century exam system which is failing to properly measure their achievements.
It is recommending more continuous assessment for senior students and the creation of a new agency to oversee the curriculum.
Ministers are also being urged to learn the lessons from the pandemic and take steps to minimise disruption to pupils’ education in the future.
The Scottish Government has made education its key priority. Nicola Sturgeon declared as far back as 2015 that it was the one area she wanted to be judged upon.
In announcing the end of the SQA just weeks into her new job, Ms Somerville has shown we now have an education secretary who is prepared to take bold action.
However, the real test will be what comes next.
If she and her colleagues are serious about restoring the reputation of Scottish education they will listen closely to educators, children and families and then demonstrate that they have learned and understood.