PARENTS have attacked the way Scotland’s exam body presents information to them on its website.

Families said the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) site was difficult to navigate and they often used search engine Google to find information instead.

There was also concern many of the documents on the website were written in jargon and were difficult to understand.

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The criticisms are contained in a wide-ranging report by the SQA on the attitudes of teachers, parents and pupils to school reforms.

The issue is important because Scottish qualifications have gone through a major revamp since 2014 with Standard Grades scrapped and new National 4 and National 5 courses introduced in their place.

The changes have proved controversial with confusion around the purpose of the new qualifications and how they link up with other exams.

The report said: “The SQA website was criticised by focus group participants and by individual respondents for being difficult to navigate, with the focus group reporting that parents are opting to ‘google’ rather than trying to search within the site.

“They also said that the number of documents on the website makes it difficult to determine which are the most relevant and up-to-date and they said documents tended to be written in ‘teacher-speak’ rather than being accessible for parents.

“However, others commented that they appreciated the transparency of being able to see the guidance documents and past papers and specimen papers, and that their child had used the exam timetable and learner tools on the website.”

Eileen Prior, executive director of the Scottish Parent Teacher Council said the biggest hurdle parents faced was the “edu-speak” language used in leaflets, letters and websites.

She said: “We spend a lot of time encouraging good quality communication with parents and we always suggest that parent councils and other groups are given the role of making sure that communication from schools is clear and understandable.

“Our message is always very simple. Stop telling parents what you want to tell them and instead give them the information they actually want to hear in language that ordinary people use.”

Joanna Murphy, chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, added: “It is important parents are fully involved in their child’s learning and that information intended to help them do so is clear, concise, easy to locate and relevant to the stage their child is at.

“Parents own educational experience is very different to that which their child is receiving now, so while some jargon is needed they are often brand new to the parent and need explained.

“If the intended audience is the parent it needs to be tailored for them and not just a rehash of information for others. All levels of education should remember this.”

An SQA spokesman said: “Since the exercise was carried out, we have improved the search experience on our website for all our users.

“We have done this by refining and clarifying our content, and reducing the number of pages on our website.”