Nicola Sturgeon on SQA exam results: 'We did not get this right and I'm sorry'

The First Minister has apologised for the downgrading of pupils' exam results and said the government would move to “fix” the situation.

First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon visits West Calder High School in West Calder, Scotland (Photo by Andy Buchanan /AFP)
First Minister of Scotland Nicola Sturgeon visits West Calder High School in West Calder, Scotland (Photo by Andy Buchanan /AFP)

At her daily coronavirus briefing, Nicola Sturgeon said “we didn’t get this right” and she wanted “to say sorry to young people” as she also gave her backing to under-fire Education Secretary John Swinney, who is facing a vote of no confidence in the Scottish Parliament this week as a result of the downgrading of thousands of exam results.

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The schools examination diet was cancelled in March as schools closed through coronavirus lockdown, with pupils being told that teachers would estimate their grades. However the Scottish Qualifactions Authority decided to "moderate” the estimates, resulting in 124,000 grades being marked down, the highest number in schools in deprived areas.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon (Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)
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Ms Sturgeon said the government had taken decisions “which we thought were on balance the right ones, but our concern to make sure the grades young people got were as valid as any other year, perhaps led us to think more about the system than individual children.”

She added: "Despite our best intentions I do acknowledge that we did not get this right and I am sorry for that".

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She also said she did not attach any blame to the SQA and that it was on the government.

A detailed plan for how the situation will be resolved is due to be announced by from John Swinney in Holyrood tomorrow, and Nicola Sturgeon said the government would not “expect every student who has been downgraded to appeal". She added: "That's on us."

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Joy Yates

Editorial Director



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