This summer has been a big one for Scotland’s schools. It saw the publication of a long-awaited and major review into the Curriculum for Excellence.

Having been involved in securing the review and then expanding its remit after last year’s exams shambles, I was pleased with its conclusions.

To oversimplify its conclusions slightly, those were that the Curriculum for Excellence makes for a strong education system, but it is let down by excessive teacher workload and an exams and assessments system which bluntly, doesn’t match CfE at all.

Having sat on Parliament’s education committee for five years, none of that came as a surprise. It’s exactly what I and many others, particularly teachers themselves, have told the government over and over again.

In the last five years we’ve heard how Scotland’s exams agency, the SQA, made error after error, treated teachers and pupils with distrust verging on hostility, and resisted attempts to improve transparency in their internal workings.

Until now, the government have stuck their heads in the sand. After this report, that was no longer an option.

Finally, after years of campaigning by Greens and others, the SQA is to be abolished and a new agency created, responsible for both the curriculum and the exams system.

The SQA’s performance during the pandemic was the final straw for many. Last year we had the outrageous downgrading of 125,000 results based on what school pupils went to.

Locally, 44 per cent of Highers at Clydebank High were downgraded, and 39 per cent at St Peter the Apostle. These were amongst the worst affected schools in Scotland.

Fortunately, after brilliant protests by young people, Green MSPs were in a position to force the government into restoring every one of those grades. But this year we’re seeing a repeat of the same mistakes in a slightly altered form.

The SQA and government insists that this year’s process is based on teacher judgement, but that is fundamentally untrue. Exams in all but name have taken place. The burden of setting and marking those exams fell on teachers but without the ability to truly exercise their own professional judgement.

Scotland’s teachers and pupils deserve so much better. They need an exams system which works with the curriculum, not against it. And they need an exams agency which supports them rather than sees them as the problem.