Tue 11 Aug, 2020

Scottish Greens Education Spokesperson Ross Greer MSP has welcomed confirmation from Education Secretary John Swinney that, “all downgraded awards will be scrapped,” and instead will be, “based solely on teacher or lecturer judgement,” as the Scottish Greens had demanded. 

In a statement to parliament this afternoon Mr Swinney confirmed that schools will be able to confirm grades to those pupils still in school when they return this week, and the SQA will issue fresh certificates to affected candidates. 

In addition, the small number of pupils whose results were upgraded by the SQA will not be affected, an independent review will take place into how, despite warnings by the Greens and others, this scandal was allowed to happen and the OECD review into Curriculum for Excellence will be widened to consider whether or not the assessment system in Scotland is fit for purpose. These were all conditions issued by the Scottish Greens to the Government.

Ross Greer MSP said: 

“I warned for four months that this would happen, and that it would be unacceptable. Unfortunately, the Education Secretary and SQA refused to listen then, but I am glad that they are listening now. 

“The Scottish Government has agreed to implement the solutions demanded by the Greens, starting with the restoration of 124,565 grades which were lowered by the SQA’s discriminatory ‘moderation’ system. In this extraordinary year pupils’ grades should always have been based on the professional judgement of those who know them best, their teachers.

“With UCAS and other admissions bodies being informed of these changes imminently, young people whose hopes of moving on to university and college were shattered last week will now be able to move forward with the places they worked so hard to secure for themselves.

“The Priestly review also announced today is of vital importance. The unacceptable situation that arose this year can never be allowed to happen again. Listening to pupils and teachers is essential in ensuring that. Of course, if they had been listened to in the first place, as we had called for, much of this fiasco could have been avoided. 

“The Scottish Greens have long made the case that high stakes exams at the end of the school year are a poor way of judging a young person’s attainment and may be a particularly bad way of judging pupils from the most disadvantaged communities. We look forward to the results of the OECD review and the opportunity to replace Scotland’s outdated assessment system with one fit for the 21st century.

“Scottish Greens were clear throughout this process that our priority was securing a solution for the tens of thousands of pupils, teachers and parents affected. We are glad to have achieved that today.”

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