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Scottish school exams cancelled due to coronavirus

By Jonathan Clark

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SCOTTISH Education Secretary John Swinney has announced school exams will not take place as planned this year due to coronavirus.

The move comes as the number of coronavirus-related deaths in Scotland rose to six, with 266 confirmed cases. Yesterday, the decision to close schools from the end of this week was made.

Mr Swinney said the move is a "measure of the gravity of the challenge" the country faces in dealing with the pandemic.

Deputy First Minister John Swinney. Picture: Gary Anthony
Deputy First Minister John Swinney. Picture: Gary Anthony

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) will use coursework, teacher estimation and prior attainment to decide grades. Teachers and other staff members will continue to work if fit and healthy.

Schools will also remain open for at-risk children, as well as those whose parents/carers are "key workers" in the battle with coronavirus.

Mr Swinney said: "Teaching, learning and support will continue – albeit in different ways for different groups of children.

"For the majority, this will be through distance learning and online learning, with different forms of on-going contact with teachers rather than in-school, face-to-face.

"For vulnerable children and those who have parents or carers employed as key workers, local authorities are developing approaches to support them. We will not cut adrift vulnerable young people who often rely on school life for hot meals or for a safe, nurturing and supportive environment.

"Parents are not expected to be a teacher or to recreate the school day - your school will be giving you some resources and suggestions as your first port of call.

"It is a measure of the gravity of the challenge we now face that the exams will not go ahead this year. With the support of the wider education system, a credible certification model can be put in place in the that can command confidence in the absence of the exam diet – to ensure that young people in our schools and colleges, who through no fault of their own are unable to sit exams, are not disadvantaged."

Schools across England, Northern Ireland and Wales are also set to close from the end of the week, with the UK government having announced the cancellation of GCSEs and A-Levels.

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