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Scotland cancels all exams next year

December 31, 2020

Original Article: https://www.independent.co.uk/news/education/education-news/scotland-exams-cancelled-coronavirus-b1768206.html

Scotland has cancelled all exams for next year amid ongoing disruption caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

It follows a previous decision to scrap National 5 exams and delay others.

The Scottish education secretary has now said Higher and Advanced Highers will not go ahead either, amid concerns over fairness and the pandemic affecting students’ education differently. 

“The level of disruption to learners has not been equal”, John Swinney said, adding pupils from poorer backgrounds were more likely to miss school to self-isolate.

"I will not stake the future of our Higher pupils – whether they get a place at college, university, training or work – on a lottery of whether their school was hit by Covid,” he said.

It will be the second year in a row that exams will be scrapped in the country amid the pandemic.

The decision comes just weeks after Wales announced it would cancel GCSE and A-level exams, with the Welsh education minister saying the pandemic made it “impossible to guarantee a level playing field” for students facing exams.

Exams are due to take place with delays in both England and Northern Ireland next year.

GCSE and A-level students in England will have their exams marked more generously, the government announced last week, along with other changes made in light of Covid-related disruption. 

Speaking about Scotland’s changes on Tuesday, Mr Swinney said there was “no guarantee” pupils would face no further disruption to their education over the next months. 

“In light of this, the question is less whether we can hold the exams safely in the spring and more whether we can do so fairly," he said. 

“However, there is no getting around the fact that a significant percentage of our poorest pupils have lost significantly more teaching time than other pupils.” 

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