LiveCoronavirus in Scotland RECAP: Pupils to receive original marks estimated by teachers

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Cornavirus in Scotland LIVE: The latest updates on Tuesday

Last updated: Tuesday, 11 August, 2020, 16:41

  • Education Secretary to announce plans to tackle exam results issue today
  • Pupils in Scotland return to classrooms for first time since lockdown
  • Employment in Scotland falls 15,000 between April and June

Pressure on the rest of the UK to follow Scotland’s lead, ASCL suggests

The decision to revert more than 124,000 exam results in Scotland to the grades estimated by teachers will put pressure on the rest of the UK to follow suit, the Association of School and College Leaders (ASCL) has suggested.

Geoff Barton, general secretary of the ASCL, said: “There are good reasons for standardisation because it means this year’s grades are kept roughly in line with other years so that there is fairness to students over time.

“But there is clearly a tension when this leads to a situation where centre-assessed grades which were submitted in good faith by schools and colleges are then pulled down because of a statistical model, particularly if this detrimentally impacts on disadvantaged students.”

He added: “The decision in Scotland will put pressure on authorities in the other home nations to follow suit, and we will have to see how this plays out.”

UK Government should follow lead of Scotland by scrapping moderated grades, says NUS

The UK Government should follow the lead of Scotland by scrapping moderated grades, the National Union of Students (NUS) has said.

Larissa Kennedy, president of the NUS, said: “The Scottish Government have taken decisive action to respond to this situation, which must now be reflected across the UK.

“Students have worked incredibly hard throughout their education, and their efforts should be recognised. Now should be a time to celebrate their achievements rather than place a limit on their potential.”

She added: “In these unprecedented circumstances the UK Government should follow the lead of Scotland by scrapping moderated grades. This temporary measure must be taken to avoid a situation in which thousands of students do not receive the grades they deserve because of where they live.”

RECAP: Pupils to receive original marks estimated by teachers, Swinney announces

Scotland’s Education Secretary has announced exam results downgraded by a controversial moderation process will revert to the grades estimated by pupils’ teachers.

John Swinney apologised to pupils affected by the lowering of 124,564 results and confirmed marks moderated upwards will not change.

In a statement to the Scottish Parliament, Mr Swinney revealed he has told the Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) to revert downgraded results to the estimates “based solely on teacher or lecturer judgment”.

“I can confirm to Parliament today that all downgraded awards will be withdrawn,” he said.

“Schools will be able to confirm the estimates they provided for pupils to those that are returning to school this week and next.

“The SQA will issue fresh certificates to affected candidates as soon as possible and, importantly, will inform UCAS and other admission bodies of the new grades as soon as practical in the coming days to allow for applications to college and university to be progressed.”

Rest of UK must ensure no student misses out because of flawed system, says union

The rest of the UK must now ensure no students miss out because of faulty grading systems, the University and College Union (UCU) has urged.

Jo Grady, general secretary of UCU, said students deserved better than this “mess”, adding that the U-turn and apology from John Swinney was welcome.

She said: “The rest of the UK must now ensure that no student misses out because of a flawed system of awarding marks.”

“Allowing algorithms to downgrade marks and hold students back was wrong. Many students’ life chances could still be damaged because of a clearly faulty system,” Ms Grady added.

Mary Senior, UCU’s Scotland official, said: “This belated U-turn is welcome news for the thousands of Scottish students who could have missed out due to the farce around the results last week.

“Equally welcome is the commitment to create additional places in Scotland’s universities and colleges. It’s vital that these additional places are fully funded so students are well supported to progress their studies.”

John Swinney statement LIVE:

Shadow Scottish secretary Ian Murray tweeted: “Well done to all the young people who wouldn’t accept the embedding of inequality in the exam system. A hugely embarrassing but very welcome u-turn from the Scottish govt that wouldn’t have happened without the public outcry.

“And all those that defended the SNP position will no doubt be the ones who are strongest advocates of the new position. All those elected SNP members who have been silent for the last week can come out from behind the sofa.”

Ruth Davidson and Jackson Carlaw call on John Swinney to resign

Former Scottish Tory leaders Ruth Davidson and Jackson Carlaw both called on John Swinney to resign.

Ms Davidson tweeted: “A total U-turn on the position Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney had doubled down on for days. Welcome relief for pupils who’ve been put through the wringer. But be in no doubt, this is a shambles & an honourable man would have offered his resignation.”

And Mr Carlaw posted: “U-turn on the Education Bill. U-turn on Curriculum Choice. U-turn on Blended Learning. U-turn on Shambolic SQA results. John Swinney has presided over a shambles in Scottish Education, over several years. He must resign.”

People in Wales least likely to wear face coverings, according to poll

People in Wales are less likely to wear a face covering during the coronavirus pandemic than people in England and Scotland, according to a new survey.

Just 43% of Welsh respondents said they had worn a covering or mask in the last two weeks, compared to 65% in England and 75% in Scotland.

Wales is the only country in Britain where face coverings are not required to be worn in shops to help prevent Covid-19 transmissions, but like in the rest of the UK they are mandatory on public transport.

John Swinney statement LIVE:

Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard tweeted: “The no confidence motion in @JohnSwinney has forced a massive #SQAResultsFiasco U-turn. But Swinney has lost all credibility and isn’t the one to fix this.

“At 5pm @ScotParl bureau will propose that motion is heard on Thursday. Blocking motion from debate would be anti-democratic.”

John Swinney statement LIVE:

Mr Swinney says: "The pass rate in the most deprived communities increased at a faster rate than in the least deprived communities."

John Swinney: "While we expect next year's exams to go ahead, we have to put in place the right plans to make sure we don't find ourselves in this situation again."

"Covid has placed, at times, unbearable pressures on us all and I wish our learners well in building on the achievements they have justifiably been rewarded in these most difficult of days," he says.

John Swinney: downgraded exam results to be withdrawn

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John Swinney: downgraded exam results to be withdrawn

Scotland's Education Secretary, John Swinney, has announced that young people who had their exam grades moderated downwards will have them withdrawn, and pupils will have their results based on teachers estimates.

John Swinney statement LIVE:

The Scottish Greens have called for the Scottish Government to hold an urgent review into the scandal and into the exams system as a whole.

John Swinney said that a current review being conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) into the Curriculum for Excellence would be expanded to “include recommendations on how to transform the Scottish approach to assessment and qualifications, based on best practice globally”.

He also said that an investigation will be undertaken to look at how this year’s awards were handed out.

He said: “Coronavirus has not gone away and, while we expect next year’s exams to go ahead, we need to put in place the right plans to make sure we don’t find ourselves in the same situation again.”

Mr Swinney announced that a “rapid consultation exercise” with teachers will start this week, looking at removing parts of course assessment and adjusting the volume of evidence required in coursework.

He also announced a full independent review chaired by Professor Mark Priestly of Stirling University to look into the circumstances of this year’s awards, including the approach taken to estimate pupils’ grades, the impact the process had on young people and their families and the transparency of the process.

An initial report is expected, the Education Secretary said, within five weeks.

John Swinney statement LIVE:

As a result of the changes announced by John Swinney, the new Higher pass rate for 2020 is 89.2%, 14.4% higher than the previous year.

The National 5 pass rate has also increased by 10.7% to 88.9%, as well as the Advanced Higher pass rate rising to 93.1% – a rise of 13.7%.

Final headline results, the Education Secretary said, would be published on August 21.

Changes to the appeals process will be published later this week.

John Swinney statement LIVE:

The Education Secretary said that the approach taken by the Scottish Government may not have adequately taken into account the unique situation of 2020.

John Swinney said: “Perhaps our approach to maintaining standards for the 2020 cohort alongside every other year – even though 2020 is so unique – did not fully understand the trauma of Covid-19 for this year group and did not appreciate that a different approach might actually help to even things out.”

He also said he was grateful to the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) for its “professional approach”, adding that he has no criticism of the body.

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