National guidance needed to sort out prelim ‘postcode lottery’

John Swinney must show leadership by delivering national guidance on prelims to prevent a “postcode lottery” that could harm the prospects of students, Iain Gray MSP has said.

 In a letter to the Deputy First Minister, Scottish Labour’s education spokesperson Iain Gray raised the issue that, due to John Swinney stating that the decision of holding of prelims was “up to schools”, there was now a postcode lottery over access to prelims.

Iain Gray MSP said:

“The lack of national guidance from the SQA and the Scottish Government is leading to hugely varying assessment methods between schools and in some areas I understand there are cases where schools are embarking on a second round of prelims while others are taken the decision to hold none at all.” 

Calling for action to end this postcode lottery, Mr Gray said: 

“The lack of national guidance on prelims has caused yet more uncertainty and anxiety for thousands of pupils, teachers and parents who fear that they may be disadvantaged by their schools’ decisions to either procced with prelims (cutting into teaching time) or to not procced (leading to less evidence for teacher judgement).

“I therefore believe that further national guidance from the Education Secretary would be welcome to provide greater consistency and fairness for pupils across the country and additional assurances and evidence that the inconsistent approach that has been allowed to develop will not negatively impact on students’ attainment this academic year.”