The Scottish Living Wage Accreditation Initiative has been an effective way of boosting the pay packets of low income earners.

Ministers fund the Poverty Alliance to run the Initiative, which encourages employers to pay their staff at least £8.45 an hour. Hundreds of organisations have signed up the scheme.

However, it is incumbent on public bodies to show leadership on paying the Living Wage.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), which oversees the country’s exams and assessment system, should be congratulated for being a Living Wage employer.

However, not only does the SQA have staff of its own, but the quango also pays teachers for internal assessment of coursework.

This fee is not a salary add-on: teachers are paid by councils, and the SQA is responsible for picking up the tab on marking payments.

According to the SQA, this fee can be as little as £3.56 per paper for marking internal assessments in subjects such as Computing, which raises questions of whether the system complies with either the minimum or living wages.

There is no definitive answer on how long it takes teachers to mark coursework but anecdotally it can take an hour to assess a single paper in some courses. As such, £3.56 seems a paltry amount that could fall below a minimum threshold.

A Holyrood motion was recently passed which noted that teachers had “lost confidence” in bodies such as Education Scotland and the SQA.

The exams quango must urgently review its payment system to ensure that teachers are not being short-changed.