A row has broken out over proposals for managing this year's pupil appeals.

Grades are to be decided under an alternative assessment system following the cancellation of National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams.

In its response to an SQA consultation, the NASUWT union said it could not support any of the three options put forward, as each places too much responsibility on schools.

It also believes such an approach will potentially lead to litigation, damage pupil/school relationships, undermine students' confidence in the neutrality of the appeals system and impose excessive workload burdens on teachers and senior staff.

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However, the SQA stressed no final decisions had been taken.

Dr Patrick Roach, NASUWT General Secretary, said: “The starting premise for the SQA’s consultation is that schools will handle appeals themselves.

"There is no consideration of other approaches to the management of appeals this year. Offering only a narrow range of sub-optimal options, all of which threaten to drive up teacher and school leader workload is completely unacceptable.

“Rather than start the consultation process earlier to provide better scope for working with the profession to create a fit-for-purpose appeals system, the SQA has instead undertaken a rushed exercise in which it has chosen to place teachers in a position of effectively being asked to choose which sub-optimal option they can best tolerate.

HeraldScotland: Dr Patrick Roach has criticised the proposals.Dr Patrick Roach has criticised the proposals.

“The NASUWT does not support any of the three models which have been proposed, as each one places the responsibility for managing appeals on schools, potentially opening up the floodgates to litigation. Each model will also generate excessive and unacceptable workload burdens on teachers and school leaders."

He added: “The SQA has completely failed to consider other options which do not involve teachers in managing the appeals process. These options, set out in the NASUWT’s response to the consultation, would help to preserve the neutrality and consistency of the appeals process, which is vital for the trust and confidence of pupils in the appeals system and for the professional integrity of teachers and schools.

“The NASUWT will be pressing the SQA and ministers to work with us and other stakeholders to urgently design a fit for purpose appeals system which will work to the benefit, not the detriment, of pupils, teachers and schools.”

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An SQA spokesman said: “No decisions have been taken. 

"The SQA consultation on the 2021 National Qualifications Appeals process seeks views on a range of draft proposals. We want to hear from teachers, lecturers, parents, carers, learners and other stakeholders, to inform final proposals.

"The consultation runs until 26 March, following which we will work with partners to agree and publish the final appeals process in early May.”