Scotland: Update on Education & Exams Coronavirus

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Labrador99
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#21
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Q from Mark McDonald MSP: the transition from primary to secondary for children with additional support needs often needs to be longer & carefully handled. In the longer term, would it be considered that young people who need an enhanced/longer transition are able to have this into the new term, even if schools are otherwise back to normal by then?

A: Acknowledges significance of school closures for students with ASN in general. We want to minimise disruption to young people and maximise continuity of education, particularly for these young people.
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Labrador99
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#22
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Q from Emma Harper MSP: lots of young people will feel very anxious. What support will be available to support young people's mental health.

A: Difficult time for country due to reduced social contact & access to services. Emphasis on support from communities, especially young people affected by exam cancellations. We should ensure young people have access to these services, but it needs to happen where and in a way that it is safe to do so.
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Labrador99
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#23
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Q from Michelle Ballantyne MSP: Private nursery workers may also be parents, or could be sick/self isolating. Will state sector nursery workers be able to step in?

A: We'll add this suggestion into discussions.


2nd Q: Some young people will only focus hard on their exams at the last minute, or will improve towards the end of the year. Will they get a chance to resit?

A: It's a significant issue that has been raised. The chief examiner will be mindful of these factors as she makes the necessary decisions. It's important that we are ensuring everyone has a fair opportunity to have their work assessed. If we don't judge that to be the case, we need to find other ways. I will relay this point to Chief Examiner.
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Labrador99
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#24
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Q from Kenneth Gibson MSP: School staff will be at home for many months - how will we maintain their skills? Has redeploying school staff to help their communities been considered?

A: Where they're able to, I think teachers will make that contribution. In terms of professional development, teachers finding time to do it is often a challenge - there will be certainly lots of time, as well as digital opportunities, to make sure this is taken forwards. We just need to get the model working & stabilised first.
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Kubsyy
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#25
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With a huge sadness I was really shocked by hearing this just after I completed my admin assignemnt (it was hella easy) now I have to return all of my work tomorrow to teacher. And I wonder how everyone will go to uni now...

Take care and hopefully you will get a grade that you deserved
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Labrador99
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#26
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Q from Johann Lamont MSP: I've grave concerns about this decision - I know it will have been taken very seriously, but I'm worried about the long term consequences on life chances & opportunities for young people. There's not only the digital divide but also other inequalities which I'm worried will get worse over this period. Will you keep this under close review? Will you be planning to address these once this is over? Do you recognise it is individual schools that are important to individual families and that as many schools as possible will be open in some form? What is the responsibility of schools for keeping in contact with individual families?

A: This decision was not an easy one to take. Government policy commitment to close poverty related attainment gap - this will remain the focus when handling this - I don't want any damage done to young people's life chances.
There's an arguement for schools to be able to continue to provide (in a more limited way) support for families - local authorities will be deciding/making plans.
Individual schools know their people & their families and should support them as best as possible. We'll be creating the assistance & support to let this happen.
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Labrador99
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#27
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Q from Edward Mountain MSP: Can you tell us what support you'd like to see given to ASN pupils during this time?

A: Some ASN support should be able to continue, as long as it is consistent with health guidance. We need to do everything we can to minimise this disruption. Local authorities have been encouraged to ensure as much continuity as possible.
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Labrador99
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#28
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Q from Lewis Macdonald: What happens with probationary teachers?

A: I'll check & write to you. They should still be paid. In terms of regulatory requirements, it would be unreasonable for them to not receive their accreditation - it's not their fault. So long as necessary standards have been reached so far, they should still be able to qualify
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Labrador99
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#29
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Q from Andy Wightman: Prelim quality varies a lot between schools and subject to subject...Please confirm no pupil will be disadvantaged by this & that quality assurance will be put in place?

A: The issue of quality assurance will need to be an implicit part of the alternative certification model - the chief examiner is exploring all of these questions as she develops the process. I've been assured we can have a model that we can be confident in, and that will require quality assurance to be put in place.

Q: Will any difficulties pupils face in submitting coursework due to issues at home be taken into account?

A: This is an important issue, that needs to be tackled in a way that recognises the contribution young people have made. We need to take this into account - young people need (as with any exam diet) to be able to question the grade which they are awarded. Further details in due course.
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Labrador99
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#30
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Q from Alex Cole-Hamilton MSP: Provision for key workers needs to continue in Easter & summer - how do we give both teachers and pupils a break in this? And how do we decide which teachers will be doing this?

A: This will only work if we have flexibility at a local level. It won't work if we make all the decisions at a national level. I think these points made can be considered as part of that process.
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Labrador99
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#31
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Q from Annabelle Ewing MSP: MSYP (Member of Scottish Youth Parliament) Bailey Lee Robb from Fife posted a video reassuring young people earlier today - what will you do to encourage more young people to take such initiative and ensure young people are reassured.

A: Important example of how young people can help at a peer group level provide reassurance to each other. Young Scot and other organisations can also provide trusted & safe information to young people.
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Labrador99
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#32
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Q from Jeremy Balfour MSP: With schools closing, how will parents without email/internet etc. access be able to get advice & information in the coming weeks & months?

A: Vital that schools know their young people & families and that they have varied communication methods, so everyone has access to info & support.
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Fermion.
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#33
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Thanks for these updates. I am not sitting SQA exams this year and I am in university, however I am thinking of all the 5th and 6th years and how anxious this situation must be for everybody. Please hang in there and just know everything will be ok!
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Labrador99
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#34
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Q from Neil Findlay MSP: We're relying on key workers to self diagnose...Will we set something up similar to in Ireland for quick testing & diagnosis?

A: Important point. FM gave commitments in FMQs earlier today. We need to understand path & pattern of virus.
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Labrador99
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#35
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Q from Graham Simpson MSP: I asked the other day about what will happen for final year university students and the answer was 'it's up to the universities'. While this is true, they still don't know what will happen for exams & how they will graduate. Please speak to unis sector, so students get this info.

A: Higher education minister has been in dialogue...Number of methods being discussed & starting to be put in place. Will ensure your point is reiterated to them.
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Labrador99
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#36
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Q from Anas Sarwar MSP: What about key workers that don't work for public sector?

A: That's part of why we're not being prescriptive to local authorities.
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Labrador99
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#37
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Final Q from Fulton Macgregor MSP: Will there be any consideration/special circumstances for students who may have experienced illness/circumstances outwith their control earlier in the school year?

A: There's always provision for such circumstances to be taken into account...We've also had a couple of whole schools impacted by things like fires, Woodmill HS in Dunfermline & Peebles HS in Scottish Borders - there are specific discussions going on with SQA to make sure these young people are not disadvantaged by any of these circumstances.
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Labrador99
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#38
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(Original post by Fermion.)
Thanks for these updates. I am not sitting SQA exams this year and I am in university, however I am thinking of all the 5th and 6th years and how anxious this situation must be for everybody. Please hang in there and just know everything will be ok!
Couldn't agree more with this - always nice to see others who have left visiting ScotQuals.
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