THE Scottish Qualifications Authority is set to be scrapped, and now the Scottish Government have revealed the expert panel who will head up the reforms.

Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville made the announcement in June this year following recommendations in a report from the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development Organisation (OECD).

The OECD recommended bringing the exams system under the remit of the body in charge of curriculum, Education Scotland.

Somerville said that all 12 of the review’s recommendations will be accepted in full, including recommendations on curriculum, assessment and qualifications which will see the SQA replaced and Education Scotland substantially reformed.

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And now, the Scottish Government has released the proposed list of members on an expert panel to head up the reforms.

The group, which contains nine members, will meet at least once a month between August 2021 and January 2022.

There will also be meetings with stakeholders as part of a “broad engagement exercise” in September this year.

But who are the members? Read below to find out more on the group in charge of reforming Scotland’s education system.

The National:


Muir (pictured) only retired from his post as Chief Executive and Registrar of the General Teaching Council for Scotland (GTCS), the body responsible for teaching standard and regulation of the profession, this year. Previously, before his appointment to the GTCS in 2013, he worked for Her Majesty's Inspectorate of Education (HMIE) as Strategic Director (Schools) and Director of Inspection when Education Scotland was set up.

Muir was previously a geography and geology teacher in Ayrshire and has held a variety of senior posts. He is also the author of a number of geography textbooks, a Fellow of the Royal Scottish Geographical Society and the Royal Society of Arts.

Muir has also been a member of the Curriculum for Excellence Management Board, Strategic Board for Teacher Education and the Scottish Education Council, as well serving on the Covid Education Recovery Group until his retirement. He was awarded an Honorary Professorship at the University of the West of Scotland in January 2021.


The head teacher of Renfrewshire school since 2013, Burke began his career as maths teacher in 1998. According to the Scottish Government, Burke led the high school through a “sustained period of improvement to a position of considerable strength”.

Burke was president of School Leaders Scotland in 2018-19 and worked with key educational organisations at national level. He is also an associate tutor with the University of Strathclyde and co-host of the "Changing Conversations" educational podcast.

The National:


Former teacher Donaldson (pictured) was head of HMIE between 2002 and 2010. The Scottish Government say he “radically transformed the approach to inspection” in Scotland with more emphasis on self-evaluation and improvement.

He introduced the inspection of local authorities and established a national, multi-disciplinary inspection system for child protection. Donaldson played a major role in Scotland’s curriculum reform, and after his retirement from HMIE, his report "Teaching Scotland’s Future" (2011) was accepted in full and led to a major reform programme of teacher education in Scotland.

In 2014, he conducted a review of the Welsh curriculum and the Welsh Government accepted all 68 recommendations in his report. He is currently advisor on education reform to the Minister for Education and Skills in Wales and a member of the International Council of Education Advisors in Scotland.


Hayward is professor of Educational Assessment and Innovation at the University of Glasgow, and was a member of the Assessment Reform Group. In 2018 she founded the International Educational Assessment Network.

A former teacher, Hayward has been working with UNESCO, OECD and policy and practice communities in Scotland, Wales, Ireland, Norway, Turkey and Slovenia. According to the Scottish Government her interests lie in curriculum, assessment and pedagogy, and social justice. She currently chairs the Independent Commission on the Future of Assessment and Qualifications in England.


Humes has been Professor of Education at three Scottish Universities and is now honorary professor in the Faculty of Social Sciences at the University of Stirling. He has written extensively on educational governance, policy analysis and curriculum reform, and is co-editor of Scottish Education. Humes was awarded a John Nisbet Fellowship by the British Education Research Association for his contribution to educational research.

The National:


Professor Looney (pictured) is the executive dean of Dublin City University’s Institute of Education - Ireland’s biggest faculty of education. She was the CEO of the National Council for Curriculum and Assessment from 2001 until 2016.

Looney’s research interests are assessment policy and practice, curriculum, teacher identy and professional standards for teachers and teaching.

She has been a team member for reviews for the OECD on school quality and assessment systems, and acts as a technical expert for the European Commission on projects in initial teacher education.

The National:


Mohammed (pictured) is a programme leader and senior fellow of the Higher Education Academy in the School of Education and Social Sciences, and was the first BME Muslim educator to be elected as the Vice-Convenor of the GTCS.

The Scottish Government said her PHD centers on “race equality exploring the lived experiences of Black and Minority Ethnic teachers in Scotland with a focus on celebrating their cultural, linguistic and religious identities”.

Mohammed is the co-founder and Chair of Scottish Association of Minority Ethnic Educators (SAMEE), and is also Chair of the Advance HE/Scottish Funding Council project Tackling Racial Harassment in Universities and Colleges.

The National:


McCulloch OBE (pictured) is co-director and co-founder of the Children’s Parliament in Scotland. Her background is in community education, and she has worked in both rural and city locations over the past 30 years.

McCulloch’s management experience has focused mainly on organisations working with BME communities, children and families.

She has worked at the Children’s Parliament for 25 years, working on projects which “put children’s effective participation and engagement at their heart” to allow young people to influence policy which better reflects their needs.

The National:


Dr Stanford (pictured) is an organisation design practitioner and author, having previously been an employee of large multinational companies including British Airways and Marks & Spencer.

She lived and worked in the United States as an organisation design consultant for government organisations, non-profits and private sector businesses, before returning to the UK to work in the government sector.

Stanford is now freelancing and a third edition of her book A Guide to Organisation Design will be published in March 2022.