JOHN Swinney has warned that there is a “very real risk” SQA exams could be disrupted again next year due to coronavirus.
The Deputy First Minister told Holyrood’s Education Committee he wants exams to go ahead in the spring, but the Scottish Government faces a “dilemma” because of the risk of further Covid disruption for schools.
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An announcement will be made before the half-term break for many Scottish schools on Friday October 2 setting out the plan for exams.
Mr Swinney said the SQA is already working on contingency plans if exams are cancelled once again due to coronavirus.
Giving evidence to the committee, Mr Swinney said: “The very real risk remains that there may be further disruptions for individual learners, individual schools and colleges, or more widely across the country during the course of the year.
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“And there’s no way of knowing what circumstances we will face in the spring of next year when, in normal circumstances, the exam day would take place.
“That uncertainty and risk of full disruption makes identifying a fair and robust approach an incredibly difficult decision and there are a wide range of views on the best approach to take.”
He added: “Our ambition remains to run a 2021 examination diet. However, in these exceptional times, the SQA are looking at contingencies which will be appropriate to the circumstances.
“This is especially relevant as we are currently seeing a disturbing increase in the number of cases of coronavirus, which has the potential to cause further disruption.”
Mr Swinney also told MSPs there are “very striking and significant differences” between the cancellation of the 2020 exams and preparation for next year’s exams.
When schools were closed towards the start of the pandemic, the Scottish Government…