Pupils cannot wait for action

With a deluge of appeals predicted, John Swinney must act now to reverse the SQA exam results shambles and go back to the original estimates given by teachers, Iain Gray MSP has said on behalf of Scottish Labour. 

With over 120,000 results downgraded and pupils in the most deprived areas penalised, appeals on a scale not seen before are predicted. Leaked details from the SQA’s intranet still showed yesterday that some appeals are not planned to be decided until May 2021. It has now been taken down.    

Pupils cannot wait and they deserve better. In North Lanarkshire alone, it has been reported that some 46 per cent of all higher pupils have had their grades reduced due to the SQA marking methodology signed off by John Swinney.  

John Swinney has let pupils down and must take immediate action to ensure that the awarded grades are scrapped and pupils are given the grades assigned by their teachers – the people who know them and their work best. And then John Swinney must go.  

Commenting, Scottish Labour education spokesperson Iain Gray MSP said:

“John Swinney has been missing in action to answer for his actions on the SQAs results fiasco for the last three days, he needs to go but his last act should be to revert to the judgement of teachers and amend pupils grades across the board.     

“It is clear that the appeals process will not be the answer, especially if some pupils are expected to wait nine months for a decision, this will impact on their future plans for future study or work and cannot be allowed to happen.  

We have seen clearly that across the country those pupils in the most deprived areas have been twice as likely to have their results downgraded, we cannot let this postcode lottery in results to continue. We cannot gamble with the future of our young people, nor have their academic worth evaluated based on the socio-economic status of their area. 

“In North Lanarkshire and in councils across Scotland we are seeing the cost of John Swinney’s unjust marking methodology. 

“With a deluge of appeals predicted, John Swinney’s last act as Education Secretary should be to revert the results from the SPA’s disastrous methodology, which he signed off on, and go back to the marks given by teachers, the people who know the pupils and their work best. 

“And then John Swinney must go.” 

Scottish Labour will table a motion of no confidence and seek support from other parties in the Scottish Parliament for the removal of Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney this coming week.