Ford: clarity needed on exams

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AN Aberdeenshire councillor has called for clarity regarding the council’s stance on standard grade-level attainment.

Green East Garioch councillor Martin Ford told the Times and Herald that he had written to Aberdeenshire Council’s Head of Education and Staff Development, Andrew Griffiths, asking for the local authority to clarify its position on the number of subjects that can be studied in the Senior Phase of the Curriculum for Excellence.

In the letter, Cllr Ford - who sits on the council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee - cited serious concerns from parents across Aberdeenshire about the number of subjects which pupils will sit. Standard Grades are scheduled to be replaced by National 4 and 5 exams within the next two years.

Flagging up these concerns, Cllr Ford goes on to suggest that there does not seem to be any concrete council policy on the matter, with neither a formal lower or upper limit on the number of subjects children can study.

However, he adds, schools in the shire are generally opting for a maximum of six standard grades for pupils in S3-4, on the basis of time constraints. Previously, pupils in Aberdeenshire’s schools would have sat seven or eight standard grades, giving a broader choice of subjects.

Commenting, Cllr Ford said: “I do not believe the Council has made its position sufficiently clear on the number of subject choices in S4. It is essential the Council makes an unambiguous statement about what is possible and how this can be achieved.”