Scottish exam results

  1. FM apologises and praises John Swinney's 'humility'

    Nicola Sturgeon

    Opposing the motion, First Minister Nicola Sturgeon expresses her confidence in John Swinney and describes him as "one of the most decent and dedicated people in Scottish politics".

    Applause rings out in the chamber as she hails Mr Swinney's "humility" for admitting he got it wrong and for putting it right.

    She adds: "In my book, presiding officer, that is a strength."

    Ms Sturgeon continues: "The last few days have been more difficult than they should ever have been for many young people in Scotland.

    "I know that and I am sorry. And so is John Swinney."

  2. Education secretary has overseen 'catalogue of catastrophes'

    Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney
    Image caption: Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney were stony faced as Richard Leonard spoke to the motion of no-confidence

    Mr Leonard argues there has been a "catalogue of catastrophes" under the education secretary.

    The Scottish Labour leader says there has been a failure to deliver childcare expansion, get enough cash to councils and his U-turn on getting schools back full-time.

    He adds there has also been a narrowing of subject choices, P1 testing persists and children with additional support needs are being failed.

    He calls on MSPs to back his motion of no confidence and asks John Swinney to go.

  3. Leonard insists debate is about future of Scottish education

    Richard Leonard

    Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard gets the debate under way by saying the vote of no confidence in Mr Swinney is not about personalities or retribution.

    Mr Leonard argues it about a "time of reckoning" for a long line of failures.

    More importantly it is about the future of our schools, of our pupils, of Scottish education he insists.

  4. 'Anger and danger' forced Scottish government u-turn

    Drivetime with John Beattie

    BBC Radio Scotland

    Erin Bleakley organised and led the Glasgow protest after she received lower grades than expected

    Joel Meekison, from the SQA Where's Our Say campaign, welcomed the Scottish government's u-turn.

    He was asked on BBC Radio Scotland's Drivetime if the results were now "unbelievable".

    Mr Meekison replied: "I accept that we are in an unprecedented year and, as a result, we need unprecedented actions."

    Aberdeen pupil Nadha Risan now expects her grades to be increased from two Cs and a D to two Bs and a C.

    And she believes it is a fairer reflection of what she might have achieved in her final exams.

    She added: "I'm really happy with the fact we are now given the teacher's predicted grades."

    Quote Message: I don't think that it was problems over what people achieved that made John Swinney stand up in today's remarkable statement and change it. I think it was anger and danger over the exam system being perceived as penalising marginalised groups and penalising the most vulnerable and deprived areas. from Joel Meekison SQA Where's Our Say campaign
    Joel MeekisonSQA Where's Our Say campaign
  5. 'This was as much about politics as it was about education'

    Jamie McIvor

    BBC Scotland education correspondent

    Exams generic

    The significance of the Scottish government’s decision cannot be overestimated.

    By simply accepting all teacher estimates, pass rates for National 5s, Highers and Advanced Highers are now dramatically higher than normal. This year’s Higher pass rate of 89.2% is 14.4 percentage points up on last year.

    The risk of this is that the pass rates this year are so much higher than normal that they would seem to some to be simply implausible.

    One important aim of the validation process was to try to ensure that qualifications obtained this year would stand the test of time and stand up to proper scrutiny.

    Against this, there is the argument that this year is so difficult and exceptional for young people and the education system that allowances have to be made.

    But ultimately this was as much about politics as it was about education.

    The SNP sees itself as a progressive centre-left party committed to improving the attainment of young people from disadvantaged areas.

    These are the young people for whom education is about a route out of poverty towards a better life – not simply a way of fulfilling ambitions or finding a dream job.

    For the party to appear to be defending a system which had disproportionately marked down those youngsters, risked alienating many of their natural supporters.

  6. MSPs to quiz SQA chief

    SQA chief executive Fiona Robertson
    Image caption: SQA chief Fiona Robertson defended the emergency arrangements to MSPs in May

    The chief of Scotland's exams body will be grilled by MSPs after it downgraded the results of thousands of pupils.

    SQA chief executive Fiona Robertson will answer questions at Holyrood's education committee next Wednesday.

    Many pupils have spoken of their disappointment at being given lower grades than they had achieved in prelim exams, with some claiming they have suffered because they are from less affluent areas.

    Opposition politicians have warned that there will now be a "deluge" of appeals, and accused the SQA of treating the professional judgement of teachers with "contempt" by changing so many grades.

    The SQA said its moderation process had ensured "fairness to all learners" and maintained "standards and credibility" in the qualification system.

  7. The SQA's 'lack of transparency' has led to grading problems

    Good Morning Scotland

    BBC Radio Scotland

    Th Scottish Qualifications Authority has defended how it moderated results after school pupils were unable to sit exams because of the pandemic.

    But the system has been criticised by parents and experts who feel pupils from the most disadvantaged backgrounds were unfairly downgraded.

    Barry Black, a researcher in educational attainment at Glasgow University, said the lack of transparency around the grading system had led to problems.

    He told the BBC's Good Morning Scotland programme: "They (the SQA) have done what they said they weren't going to do.

    "They have only relied on historical school attainment data to make these moderations, rather the the range of evidence and discussions that they said they would back in May."

  8. Teachers 'feel their estimates have been undermined by a computer'

    Drivetime with John Beattie

    BBC Radio Scotland

    Larry Flanagan

    Larry Flanagan, general secretary of Scotland’s largest teachers union the EIS, says many teachers who have had estimates overturned are angry.

    While the appeals process might address some anomalies, "a number of teachers will feel their estimates have been undermined by a computer", he says.

    When schools mark assessments themselves there can be "a bit of positive bias", Mr Flanagan says, but not to the extent that it would change an entire grade.

    He expects everyone whose estimate has not been upheld will be making appeals, and if those are upheld, it would place "a huge question" over the SQA's modelling.

  9. Swinney: Fairness to all learners was at the heart of the approach

    Drivetime with John Beattie

    BBC Radio Scotland

    John Swinney

    Education Secretary John Swinney reiterates that 75% of teacher estimates were accepted.

    But had they all been accepted there would have been questions about the increase in pass rates, he says.

    "Fairness to all learners was at the heart of the approach that was selected so that regardless of your circumstances around the country, you would be treated with fairness," the deputy first minister insists.

    These are a set of results which are robust, command confidence and ensure the generation of 2020 can say their results have equal validity to others, he says.

    On appeals, Mr Swinney confirms those who need grades to get into college or university in September will be prioritised.