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SNP must guarantee exams go ahead, say Tories
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Education & Skills

SNP must guarantee exams go ahead, say Tories 

Pressure is mounting on the Scottish Government to confirm that school exams will take place this year as planned.

The Scottish Conservatives say parents and pupils are already making their voices heard that another year of exam chaos is “unthinkable” following two years of disruption.

This comes after education secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville said in an interview on Sunday that a decision on whether national Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams will go ahead for the first time since before Covid could be delayed until March.

In an effort to provide reassurance, she tweeted on Monday: “For learners, parents and teachers who are understandably concerned about exams and Covid disruption, a thread…

“The clear intention is for Nat 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams to take place in the spring. However, due to uncertainty over the pandemic, two contingency plans are in place.

“If there is significant further disruption across the country, learners will get additional support to help them prepare for exams.”

Oliver Mundell MSP, Scottish Conservative shadow education secretary, said: “The SNP must guarantee that every pupil will be able to sit their exams this year as planned.

“Parents and pupils are already making their voices heard that another year of exam chaos is unthinkable after the disaster we’ve seen over the last two years.

“They cannot be left in the dark until the end of March. After years of upheaval and uncertainty, Scotland’s young people deserve a return to a normal school experience.

“The SNP cannot keep disrupting pupils’ education by cancelling exams year after year.

“We must get back to the strong exam system that ranked among the best in the world before the SNP came to power.”

It is reported that a letter was issued to schools and colleges yesterday about support for students as Covid disruption continues.

According to the document, it remains “the clear intention for the 2022 SQA exams to take place”. They will only be cancelled “if public health advice restricts physical gatherings at the time of the exams”.

On BBC Scotland’s The Sunday Show, Ms Somerville was asked when the decision would be made to give children and teachers some certainty. She said: “The very latest we think it can be made is the end of March but it doesn’t have to wait until then.”

“The [SQA] made that announcement before the [2021] summer holidays. Very importantly, they are still keeping in close contact with stakeholders to see if any of the contingencies that the SQA have designed need to be put in place.

“We have two contingencies – one if we get to the exam diet and for public health reasons exams can’t take place, the young people would have the professional judgment of the teachers being used based on evidence.

“We also have another contingency that is ready to be used if necessary if we see even further disruption to learning over the next couple of terms but that children can still have exams.”

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