Nicola Sturgeon apologises to pupils over exam results
Nicola Sturgeon has apologised to pupils who had their exam marks downgraded, saying that "despite our best intentions I do acknowledge that we did not get this right and I am sorry for that".
The First Minister made the apology at the daily coronavirus briefing, ahead of a statement from John Swinney in the chamber tomorrow, in which the education secretary is expected to set out the Scottish Government’s response to growing criticism over exam results.
It comes after 133,000 grades provided by teachers were adjusted by the SQA based on the school’s past performance rather than evidence of the individual pupil’s ability, with pupils from poorer background hardest hit, and leading opposition parties to table a vote of no confidence in John Swinney.
The FM said: “We didn’t get this right. I want to say to young people, I am sorry for that. As I said when results came out last week, this is a big moment in your lives and I am sorry that some of you have had this anxiety this week, but we are going to put it right for you and that is the commitment I am giving today.”
But Sturgeon rejected calls from both the Scottish Tories and Scottish Labour for Swinney to resign. Asked why she retained confidence in him, she said: “Opposition parties will take the decisions they want to take. That is perfectly legitimate. We live in a parliamentary democracy, I’ve been an opposition politician in the past, so I am not going to get into that here. These are debates for parliament to have.
“There are different governments in different parts of the UK, all led by different parties, and actually they have all taken broadly the same decision. Now it will be for other governments to decide if they want to stick with that or, as we are doing, decide to do something different. But this is not about a particular party or a particular government. This is about all of us trying to make difficult decisions as best we can.”
“I only speak for my own government and obviously I am accountable for my own government, when we get things wrong I want to be able to stand here and acknowledge that and put it right, because I think fundamentally, particularly in a time of crisis, and maybe we can learn for the future. That is better than digging our heels in and try to defend a position that in our hearts, when we have had time to think about it and see the impact on young people, we didn’t get right.”