A PLANNED overhaul of Scotland's exams body and Education Scotland is to be delayed.

Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth said now is not the time to introduce legislation to replace the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

She added the planned overhaul of both agencies will be delayed until at least the next parliamentary year.

The organisations were set to be reformed by the summer of 2024 but after a review into the future of qualifications was published by Professor Louise Hayward, Gilruth said time must be taken to consult teachers on the next steps.

Legislation to establish new education bodies, including a separate inspections agency, will only be introduced after ministers have considered the findings of the review.

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The report, the latest alongside the Withers Review into the skills system and the national discussion on education, recommended that exams be scrapped for fourth year pupils and replaced with continuous assessment methods.

It also suggested a Scottish diploma of achievement is developed as a graduation certificate for all senior education phases.

Following the report, Gilruth said: “The recommendations, if implemented, could represent very significant changes to our qualifications system offered by Scotland’s schools and colleges.

“The recommendations in this report could amount to a radical shift in education, and as Cabinet Secretary I need to be certain these changes are the right ones for Scotland’s young people.

“Government must provide leadership on reform which addresses this new normal in our school communities.

“In evidencing that leadership, I have concluded that it is not the time to introduce legislation on educational reform now.

“Any reform which meets our ambitions for our young people will need to be bold, holistic and, crucially, shaped by the expertise of our teachers.

“I am determined to give this process the time needed to ensure that happens before bringing forward legislation in the next parliamentary year.”

While Gilruth, a former teacher, said she is supportive of continuous assessment that is “managed appropriately”, she said teachers will be given time to consider reform in the next school year.

Scottish LibDem education spokesperson Willie Rennie however said teachers have already lost confidence in the agencies.

He said: “I am a bit concerned that she is delaying the reform of the national bodies by it seems a year.

“It’s important that the profession has confidence in these national bodies and I worry if it’s delayed then we will have a real problem in inspiring confidence among the teachers.”

Stephen Kerr, the Scottish Conservative education spokesperson, said the report was a “damning verdict” of the Scottish Government, adding: “We still have no clear sense of the Government’s strategy.”

Labour education spokesperson Pam Duncan-Glancy said: “Understanding and reviewing problems is necessary for change but I think it’s clear that what’s needed now from the Government is leadership, clarity and action.”