THE Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) will be scrapped and a new chief inspector of education brought in under new legislation published by the SNP government.

Education Secretary Jenny Gilruth unveiled The Education (Scotland) Bill on Wednesday, saying it includes reform which would “drive improvement right across the education system”.

The bill would scrap the SQA and replace it with a new body called Qualifications Scotland.

The government said the bill would create two specific "charters" to set out what learners and teachers should expect from the new body to ensure its processes are fair and transparent.

Qualifications Scotland would also have to set up dedicated committees for learners and for teachers to help ensure it can be held to account by those it serves.

The bill would also take education inspection duties away from Education Scotland and create a new office of “His Majesty’s Chief Inspector of Education in Scotland”.

The government said this office would have “enhanced independence”, although Scottish Ministers would retain oversight and be able to request inspections.

These key provisions should become operational in autumn 2025, the Scottish Government said.

Education Scotland would be given a revised remit, which is not part of the bill’s provisions, and will continue as the national education agency.

Education Secretary Gilruth said: "I am determined to drive further improvements across Scotland’s schools, and the changes being set out in this bill will strengthen the national education landscape to better support pupils and teachers.

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"The governance processes for the new national qualifications body will ensure the knowledge and experience of pupils and teachers are central to decisions taken on qualifications and assessment.

"Greater independence for the new inspectorate body will see the power to set the frequency and focus for inspections moving from Scottish Ministers to His Majesty’s Chief Inspector.

"This is a significant change and will increase confidence in the independent role of inspections in assessing and identifying strengths and areas for improvement across our education system.

"The Scottish Government’s programme of education and skills reform will drive improvement right across the education system. That's why we've taken time to engage with learners, teachers and other professionals across the education and skills sector to ensure these changes meet the needs of future generations."

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The publication of the Education (Scotland) Bill was welcomed by the EIS, Scotland’s largest teaching trade union.

Its general secretary Andrea Bradley said: "We welcome the commitment today from the Cabinet Secretary that Qualifications Scotland will ensure that ‘the knowledge and experience of pupils and teachers are central to decisions taken on qualifications and assessment’ and note the proposed increased representation of teachers and college lecturers in the agency’s membership arrangements.

"As with all legislation, the devil is in the detail and we will take time now to consider that detail, to ensure that teachers’ voice is central to the decision-making processes."