Local MSP for Dumbarton, Vale of Leven and Helensburgh has welcomed the U-turn by the Education Secretary John Swinney MSP to address the concerns of pupils as a result of the exam results scandal — but she still wants him to resign tomorrow when he faces a vote of No Confidence at Holyrood.

Thousands of students across our local community saw their results downgraded based solely on an algorithm – a process or set of rules to be followed in calculations or other problem-solving operations, especially by a computer – which took no account of their academic achievement or their teachers professional judgement.

Yesterday in the Scottish Parliament, Education Secretary Swinney announced that all grades that were issued by the Scottish Qualifications Authority would be withdrawn.

He confirmed that he has directed the Scottish Qualifications Authority, using powers under the Education Act 1996, to re-issue awards to affected students based solely on their teachers’ judgement.

The Education Secretary maintains that an independent review will be led by Professor Mark Priestly of Stirling University to look at events following the cancellation of the examination diet and the alternative certification model should be put in place by the SQA.

Jackie Baillie has welcomed the news of a review to obtain answers for students and teachers who were so badly treated by the Education Secretary and the SQA.

However, she believes that the remit of the review is too narrow and fails to consider the actions of the Scottish Government.

Ms Baillie said: “I welcome this U-turn by the Education Secretary.

“It is completely unacceptable that the SQA used an algorithm that simply ignored individual students hard work and the professional judgement of their teachers.

“This is a victory for fairness, for common sense and above all for those young people who refused to take this injustice lying down.

“I pay tribute to those students who took to social media and organised an effective campaign and petition against their results being downgraded.

“They should have never had to do this, both the SQA and the Education Secretary were warned of the problems about the SQA moderation system time and time again, but they failed to listen.

“I believe it is essential that we understand what went wrong,  but the Scottish Government must be transparent and admit their responsibility in this scandal.

“Students and teachers deserve to know how this scandal was allowed to happen, including what action the Scottish Government took to question the system deployed. The Education Secretary must therefore publish all relevant papers and minutes to enable proper scrutiny.

“However it remains clear the John Swinney has completely lost control of the SQA and has presided over a scandal that has hurt many young people.

“He has simply lost the confidence of pupils, teachers and parents, which is why he must do the right thing and resign.  This is a time when Scotland’s students need to know their politicians are putting their needs and future above everything else.”

One comment

  1. John Swinney reputation as an honest committed politician has been reinforced by his recent statement to Parliament in which he confirmed that he was reversing the SQA moderation and letting the teacher assessments stand.

    In issuing an heartfelt apology to the distress caused he at no time sought to blame anyone or any body for the moderation that had been applied. And in saying that he stood out in his honesty, forthrightness, and ability to change something that was not right.

    But maybe the bigger picture is of someone in a government mature enough to make decisions and to change when change is needed.

    And it certainly seems that folks recognise this because a recent opinion poll is now putting the party of government at over 57% with the clear message that folks see themselves in safe hands.

    Covid19 and it’s impacts on so many aspects of our society was never going to be easy. Education has just proved that.

    Well done Mr Swinney!

Leave a Reply