SQA statement on Higher English

Wednesday 04 May 2016

We took precautionary action after a potential issue involving one of our Higher English papers was identified a number of weeks ago. We go to great lengths to create a bank of content which can be used in our examination question papers. This process is completed many months before the exam diet is due to start. Because our processes were in place, we were able to adjust the paper quickly. 
The whole examination process relies on the integrity and professional responsibility of those involved in the development and delivery of the qualifications, including those teachers, subject specialists and education professionals who work with SQA. Confidentiality clauses are applied to everyone who is closely associated with the production of exam papers. 
The security and confidentiality of our exam materials is of the utmost importance. We have secure processes in place for producing question papers, from initial development through to printing, delivery and storage. We do not believe this potential issue arose as a result of these systems and processes, but was an isolated and external factor. 
This is an extremely rare issue and has been dealt with in line with our protocols. We want to reassure candidates, parents and schools that all our exams, including this Higher English paper, are subject to the same rigorous standards of scrutiny to ensure candidates are able to display their knowledge and understanding.
The chief invigilator for each centre where the Higher English paper will be sat, has been provided with clear instructions on handling the replacement paper.  Our chief invigilators are highly experienced and are all familiar with our strict processes for dealing with such issues.

It would be inappropriate for us to provide further detail as we are conducting a thorough review of what happened.