John Swinney Sets Out Pupil Exam Options


John Swinney Sets Out Pupil Exam Options

The Scottish education secretary has set out three options for pupils who are due to sit exams this spring.

Nationals and Highers could still go ahead in schools with social distancing measures in place, though John Swinney said this would be “difficult”.

The other options are delaying exams or using “alternative certification” methods, including coursework.

All Scottish schools will shut this week in an effort to slow the spread of coronavirus.

Schools in England, Wales and Northern Ireland will also be closing.

Mr Swinney told BBC Radio’s Good Morning Scotland that he suspected schools in Scotland would be closed for the whole of the summer term.

The three options are currently being considered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority which will set out its recommendation to ministers later.

“We could continue to run an exam diet. It may be possible with proper social distancing in place in schools, but it’s logistically very different to the normal way of running exams,” Mr Swinney said.

“We’d have to separate the children up into numerous groups around a school – much smaller groups, with many more invigilators.”

Exams could also be delayed until later in the year, but Mr Swinney said there was “uncertainty” around that option as it was difficult to predict how long the coronavirus crisis would last.

The third option would be to grade pupils on coursework, prior attainment and teacher judgement.

Mr Swinney will confirm the Scottish government’s course of action in Parliament on Thursday afternoon.

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When asked if the crisis could last as long as 18 months, the minister said: “I really hope we are not in that length of period but I can’t sit here and say in all honesty that I know the answer to your question.”

He added: “What I do know is that we are in a much more advanced position today about the delivery of education by means other than children attending school than we have been at any moment in our history.

“So we can use digital approaches to ensure that we sustain the education for young people around the country.”

John Swinney Sets Out Pupil Exam Options


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