Scottish Greens Education Spokesperson Ross Greer MSP has called on John Swinney to cancel the entire 2021 exam diet, following media reports that the Education Sectary is planning to drop National 5 exams but go-ahead with Highers.
The Scottish Greens, alongside teaching unions the EIS and SSTA, have made the case for months that proceeding on the basis that exams will definitely go-ahead next May presents an unacceptable risk, either due to disruption and school closures throughout the year or last minute cancellations, as happened earlier this year.
Ross Greer MSP said:
“Highers are a critical qualification for tens of thousands of young people, so leaving even part of those grades up to exams which the Education Secretary cannot guarantee will go ahead is a huge risk.
“John Swinney himself has already acknowledged the huge logistical challenge presented by attempting to run exams, given all pupils must sit the exam at the same time but a maximum of only 50 pupils can be in any exam hall. This doesn’t even take into account the impact of any future local or national lockdowns, the huge workload that preparing for both exams and an alternative contingency would place on teachers or the reality that a month's learning and teaching time in June has already been lost.
"The only reliable solution is to cancel the 2021 exams now and grade pupils based on their work throughout the year, avoiding both the risk of exams taking place during a pandemic and the chaos of last month’s grading scandal. The Scottish Greens worked hard to secure a fix this year which saw 75,000 pupils’ grades restored, we’d prefer to avoid the need to do so again next August."