School exams still due to go ahead next year, Scottish minister confirms

Exams are still due to go ahead as planned next year, Scotland’s education secretary has said.

Shirley-Anne Somerville said contingency measures are in place to "offset" any further significant disruption.

The Scottish Government previously confirmed National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher exams would take place in spring 2022 after a gap of two years.

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Exams were cancelled for two years in a row due to the pandemic

However, this was before the rapid spread of the Omicron variant, which has led to the return of some restrictions.

First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has said it remains the “priority to re-open schools as normal after the holidays”.

Ms Somerville was asked about plans for next year's exams in Holyrood on Wednesday.

She told MSPs: "As confirmed in August, we are planning for exams to take place in 2022.

"Significant modifications have already been made to course assessments, both exams and coursework, to take into account the disruption to learning.

"Contingency plans are also in place, as outlined by the SQA [Scottish Qualifications Authority] in August and in more detail in September, to offset any further significant and national disruption arising from Covid.

"This approach provides the flexibility to adapt to any increased levels of disruption to learning at a national level."

Ms Somerville said the safety of pupils and staff “remains our overriding priority, while minimising any further disruption to learning where at all possible”.

The cancellation of exams as a result of the pandemic led to controversy over how grades were awarded.

SNP ministers have already signalled wider reforms of the education system, including replacing the SQA.

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