TEACHERS' leaders have called for more support to deliver flagship new Higher exams as schools return after the summer holiday.

The call follows criticism of the help staff received for the National exams, which replaced Standard Grade last year.

The introduction of Nationals was hailed a success when results were published last week, but many teachers feel the qualifications were dumped on them without sufficient support from curriculum body Education Scotland and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

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That led to accusations that school staff were being swamped with excessive paperwork.

This year secondary schools will see further change with new Highers introduced to schools, although a few have been allowed to delay.

Alan McKenzie, acting general secretary of the Scottish Secondary Teachers' Association, said he hoped lessons had been learned from the problems last year.

"At the very last moment the Scottish Government and other bodies started to listen to the concerns of teachers and we did see more practical support in the classroom," he said.

"We hope very much that lessons have been learned from this experience and that the roll-out of the new Higher will not leave teachers with the sort of unbearable workload that was experienced when introducing National qualifications."

A spokesman for the Educational Institute of Scotland added: "As schools come back following the summer break, teachers will be keen to review pupils' performance in the Nationals and consider what improvements could be made.

"Secondary schools also face another significant challenge with the introduction of the new Highers and it is essential that adequate support and resources are provided to ensure the introduction runs smoothly."

A Scottish Government spokeswoman said: "We take support for teachers very seriously and continue to work with teachers' representatives and local authorities to address any points, including the workload of those at the front line delivering lasting improvements, that will benefit our young people and economy.

"In this context we are working with partners to tackle issues of bureaucracy and unnecessary paperwork in order to free teachers to concentrate on what they do best."