Scotland: Update on Education & Exams CoronavirusWatch
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.
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.
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.
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.
Take care and hopefully you will get a grade that you deserved
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
A: Vital that schools know their young people & families and that they have varied communication methods, so everyone has access to info & support.
A: Important point. FM gave commitments in FMQs earlier today. We need to understand path & pattern of virus.
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.
A: That's part of why we're not being prescriptive to local authorities.
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.
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!