Stewart Maxwell MSP

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Education and Culture Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener (Stewart Maxwell)

Good morning. I welcome everyone to the 23rd meeting in 2014 of the Education and Culture Committee. We have received apologies from Liam McArthur and George Adam. I welcome Joan McAlpine, who is attending in George Adam’s place.

I remind all present to ensure that all electronic devices, particularly mobile phones, are switched off, because they interfere with the broadcasting system.

We will continue our discussion on the implementation of the new national qualifications and the progress that is being made with curriculum for excellence more generally. I welcome to the committee Michael Russell, Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning; Fiona Robertson, director of learning at the Scottish Government; and Bill Maxwell, chief executive of Education Scotland.

Last week, we heard evidence from a range of organisations in the education sector. I am sure that members will agree that their comments and our discussions were very interesting. That evidence will be the main focus of our discussion. The cabinet secretary will be aware that we also asked members of the public to send in questions. I am sure that members will want to cover some of those. We have received a lot of questions and comments—we will not get through them all, but we will, I hope, get through some of them.

I invite the cabinet secretary to get us under way by making some opening remarks.



Education and Culture Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener

Thank you very much for that opening statement, cabinet secretary.

I want to begin this morning’s questioning with the issue of communication. The Scottish Qualifications Authority’s submission to the committee refers to its providing comprehensive communication of

“existing key documents and resources”.

However, the Educational Institute of Scotland has told us that the CFE management board and the SQA failed to communicate key messages; indeed, the EIS and others have referred to “poor communication”. Can you expand on these different organisations’ comments about or differing views on communication? If you accept that there has been a failure in communication, particularly with teachers, how can we improve the situation?



Education and Culture Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener

Thank you very much for that.



Education and Culture Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener

I have a final question, cabinet secretary. What does this year’s experience of the curriculum for excellence and the new national qualifications suggest about the degree to which the original aspirations for CFE have been realised in practice?



Education and Culture Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener

Thank you, cabinet secretary. I certainly hope that it will be stronger than a vow, but we shall see.



Education and Culture Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener

Thank you for your attendance today. I also thank your supporting officials, Fiona Robertson and Bill Maxwell, for coming along. There may well be issues that we wish to write to you about, but we will have a look at that after we have reviewed the evidence.



Education and Culture Committee 07 October 2014 : Tuesday, October 07, 2014
The Convener

That concludes our business for today.

Meeting closed at 11:18.  

Education and Culture Committee 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The Convener (Stewart Maxwell)

Good morning, everybody. I welcome you all to the 22nd meeting of the Education and Culture Committee in 2014. We have received apologies from Liam McArthur. Tavish Scott will attend as a substitute; he is delayed but will be here shortly. I remind everybody to make sure that all electronic devices are switched off, because they interfere with the sound system.

Agenda item 1 is to decide whether to take in private item 3, which is to consider our approach to scrutinising the Scottish Government draft budget for 2015-16. Do members agree to take the item in private?

Members indicated agreement.



Education and Culture Committee 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The Convener

Under agenda item 2, we will hear evidence on the new national qualifications. Our aim is to assess the implementation of the new qualifications and to look forward as the roll-out continues. We will put key issues to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Lifelong Learning when we hear from him next week.

Today I welcome a rather large panel. As we had hoped, we have got all of you in one room at the same time, and I hope that we will get a decent discussion going this morning. I welcome Terry Lanagan, who represents the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland; Graeme Logan, from Education Scotland; Larry Flanagan, from the Educational Institute of Scotland; Ken Muir, from the General Teaching Council for Scotland; Jane Peckham, from the National Association of Schoolmasters Union of Women Teachers; Dr Janet Brown, from the Scottish Qualifications Authority; and Richard Goring, from the Scottish Secondary Teachers Association.

I make the usual point that—especially as this is a large panel—not everybody has to answer every question. If they did, we would get in only about two questions. Some questions will be directed at particular individuals or groups; if others do not have anything particular to add to the discussion, I would prefer that they did not add it.

We will move straight to questions, and I will start with a general one for all the witnesses. Obviously there have been many issues and stresses in the last year arising from the implementation of curriculum for excellence and the new qualifications in secondary schools. Despite those issues, what is your assessment of where we are now? What is your assessment of the outcome of that difficult process, given that the first round of examinations has now been completed and pupils have done tremendously well in them?



Education and Culture Committee 30 September 2014 : Tuesday, September 30, 2014
The Convener

I thank you all very much for those opening remarks.

I should have said at the beginning, on behalf of the committee, that this is the first opportunity that we have had to congratulate all the teachers, parents, local authorities and, of course, pupils on achieving the outstanding results that they achieved this year. There has been a remarkable effort on everybody’s behalf to get us to where we are today, despite all the issues that we are about to get into. We are certainly very proud of our pupils and teachers and everybody else who is involved in the system for getting us to this point.

A number of members want to come in.

Vote DetailMSP VoteResult

S4M-11123 Joe FitzPatrick on behalf of the Parliamentary Bureau: Business Motion—That the Parliament
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YesCarried

S4M-11114.2 Kenny MacAskill: Policing—As an amendment to motion S4M-11114 in the name of Graeme Pear
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YesCarried

S4M-11114 Graeme Pearson: Policing—That the Parliament acknowledges that policing in Scotland contin
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1.1 Patrick Harvie: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to amendment S4M-11116.1 in the name
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YesCarried

S4M-11116.1 Nicola Sturgeon: Scotland’s Future—As an amendment to motion S4M-11116 in the name of Jo
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YesCarried

S4M-11116 Johann Lamont: Scotland’s Future—That the Parliament recognises the result of the independ
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YesCarried

Amendment 61 moved by Elaine Murray on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland) Bi
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NoDefeated

Amendment 62 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
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NoDefeated

Amendment 63 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
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NoDefeated

Amendment 64 moved by Margaret Mitchell on motion S4M-11101 Kenny MacAskill: Courts Reform (Scotland
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NoDefeated

Search for other Motions lodged by Stewart Maxwell
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Motion S4M-11165: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 09/10/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10707: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 01/08/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10706: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 31/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10612: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10542: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/07/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10288: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10235: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 05/06/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10113: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 21/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-10070: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 15/05/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Motion S4M-09762: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 17/04/2014 Show Full Motion >>
Search for other Questions asked by Stewart Maxwell
EventIdTypeSub TypeMSP NameParty NameConstituencyRegionTitleItemTextFormattedAnswer DateAnswerStatusIdExpectedAnswerDateAnsweredByMspApprovedDateSubmissionDateMeetingDateProductionStatusIdRecordStatusIdStatus DateOnBehalfOfConsideredForMembersBusinessCrossPartySupportRegisteredInterestSupportCountSupportDateIsEventLinkCurrentMinister
Question S4W-22399: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/08/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03431: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 29/07/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-21992: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 27/06/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03221: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 07/05/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-20253: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 19/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-03026: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/03/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02919: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 12/02/2014 Show Full Question >>
Question S4O-02768: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 18/12/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-18683: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 03/12/2013 Show Full Question >>
Question S4W-17086: Stewart Maxwell, West Scotland, Scottish National Party, Date Lodged: 11/09/2013 Show Full Question >>