New exams row as review chief declared support for SNP at election

The independent review into Scotland's exams fiasco is facing “whitewash” claims after it emerged the academic leading it declared his support for the SNP at the last election.

Exams were cancelled in Scotland as a result of Covid-19
Exams were cancelled in Scotland as a result of Covid-19

Professor Mark Priestley of Stirling University said ahead of the December vote that the “clear” message in some seats was “vote SNP or get a Tory” in posts on social media.

The professor of Education said he was voting to "stop Boris Johnson."

"That means voting tactically," he stated on election day on Twitter

"In my constituency that means a vote for the SNP. Today, please vote in the interests of the country, putting aside party loyalties.”

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Education Secretary John Swinney announced this week that the academic would head up the review after the Scottish Government was forced into a major climbdown over the system used to calculate school grades this year after exams were cancelled. It resulted in 120,000 teacher estimates being downgraded, with youngsters in poorer areas being disproportionately affected, before this approach was ditched.

Tory education spokesman Jamie Greene said the credibility of the review has now been called into question.

“The much-heralded SNP plans for a so-called ‘independent review’ into the SQA exams fiasco have unravelled already,” he said.

“Less than 24 hours after the Greens saved Mr Swinney’s from the sack, after his second humiliating u-turn in just a few months, it looks like another scandal has engulfed the education secretary.

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“Scottish parents and pupils demand a truly neutral and fully independent review into the exams fiasco. They will not put up with a whitewash.”

But a Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Professor Priestley will conduct a wholly independent review. He is a widely respected academic with impeccable credentials.

“We are certain his review will be detailed and rigorous.”

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Joy Yates

Editorial Director

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