Professor Hayward's Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment - public consultation

Closes 13 Jan 2023

Opened 21 Oct 2022


Why is there a need for an independent review?  

Recognising the need to look to the future, the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills announced in October 2021 the intention to reform qualifications and assessments.

This was influenced by:  

This reform process will seek to ensure that all learners’ achievements are fairly recognised to afford every learner an enhanced and fair opportunity to demonstrate the breadth, depth and relevance of their learning. The Review covers English Medium and Gaelic Medium Education.

The review’s terms of reference are available here.   

The Review is independent from the Scottish Government, local authorities and other public bodies. Professor Louise Hayward will provide recommendations to the Cabinet Secretary in March 2023.   

Read the consultation paper.

Read the consultation paper in Gaelic.

More Information

Supporting materials are also available, these include:

  • An Independent Review of Scottish Qualifications and Assessments - school pack
  • Parents and Carers Survey

Who is involved in the Review?  

We have designed the Review to provide opportunities to all those who are interested in the future of Qualifications and Assessment to offer their views.  We want to ensure that our recommendations make the most of the opportunities open to us to transform the way we approach qualifications and assessments. To do this we need to engage and listen to as many people as possible. This consultation is part of that process. It will promote extensive engagement with the public alongside continued widespread engagement with learners, schools, and colleges.  

The Review is being led by Professor Hayward supported by an Independent Review Group (IRG) comprising:  

  • those for whom qualifications matter most (learners and parents/carers) 

  • designers, developers and those who offer qualifications (extended profession and policy) and

  • those who use qualifications (colleges, employers, universities, voluntary sectors) 

You can see the members of the Independent Review Group which meets monthly.

The Independent Review Group works with 13 Collaborative Community Groups (CCGs). These CCGs act as a link to a wide range of communities and will ensure an inclusive and participatory approach which recognises and embraces the diversity of Scotland’s learners and communities. These groups specifically seek to involve people whose voices are seldom heard in policy discussions. 

What is the review doing?  

The Review will progress through three phases of consultation. We are currently in phase two.  

Phase one:

Engagement on Vision and Principles  

The first phase invited feedback on a draft Vision and Principles statement. These draft statements were first developed with colleagues from the Scottish Youth Parliament and the Children’s Parliament. Phase 1 received 260 responses from schools and colleges alongside detailed comments from collaborative community groups.

The feedback received during Phase One being analysed by an independent researcher. The Review has however been able to develop the draft Vision and Principles and the current version follows below. This will be developed further in the coming months before being finalised at the end of the year.

Following an analysis of views expressed in relation to the Vision it has been redrafted and is currently as follows.

Qualifications and awards in Scotland should: 

  • reflect the broad curriculum 
  • recognise every learner’s achievements, and  
  • provide evidence to inform the next steps in their learning journey.  

Following an analysis of views expressed in relation to the principles have been redrafted and are currently as follows.

Scotland’s qualifications system should: 

  • reflect the aspirations of the curriculum and be responsive to the changing needs of individual learners and Scotland locally and as part of global society.  
  • recognise the achievements of every learner.  
  • be clear, coherent and understood by all, as part of a lifelong learning journey.  
  • be inclusive both in design and development.  
  • support flexible approaches to assessment.  

Phase two:

We are now in Phase Two of the process. This phase seeks to consult on proposals for potential options on the future of Qualifications and Assessment.

The Review is:

  • exploring different options for the future of Qualifications and Assessment 
  • continuing to work closely with our IRG and CCG members and encouraging responses from every school and college in Scotland and
  • asking for views on different ways that the Vision and Principles might be put into practice

The evidence from responses to this phase will be independently analysed and used to identify a preferred proposal.

Phase three: 

In January 2023, the third phase of the Review will begin and we will seek views primarily through the CCGs and schools and colleges on the preferred proposal for the future of Qualifications and Assessment. In this phase the focus will be concerned with practical implications.

Following completion of the three phases we will produce a final report and recommendations which will be submitted to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills in March 2023. 

What is the Relationship between the Independent Review of Qualifications and Assessment and the National Discussion? 

Arising from recommendations in the Muir Report (2022), Putting Learners at the Centre, the National Discussion is focused on gathering views from the public on a future vision for Scottish Education. Our Review, on the future of Qualification and Assessment, is focussed on the review of qualifications and assessment in the Senior Phase. Whilst there are close links and regular communication with colleagues in the National Discussion our Review is independent of Scottish Government. The National Discussion is being jointly led by Scottish Government and COSLA.  The Independent Review will also report after the National Discussion allowing time to consider the findings from that piece of work before reporting to the Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills by the end of March 2023.  You can find out more information about the National Discussion

Why your views matter

We are inviting responses to this consultation by 13 January 2023. It is important to note that in responding there is no need to provide an answer to every question in this document. It may be that some areas of the consultation are of more interest to you or your organisation than others and the review is grateful for any views you may wish to share.   

You can save and return to your responses while the consultation is still open. Please ensure that consultation responses are submitted before the closing date.

Events for Young People

We are planning a series of events specifically for young people. These events will be an opportunity for young people to share their views on the future of Qualifications and Assessment. These will take place towards the end of November and during December. Further information on these events will be available on this page shortly. 

Give us your views



  • Children and Families
  • Communities and Third Sector
  • Digital
  • Education
  • Work and Skills
  • main hub