SNP news: Party mocked over exam chaos as Deputy FM gives ‘longest resignation ever’ | UK | News (Reports)

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John Swinney, the Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, was forced to apologise to Scottish students over the fiasco surrounding exam results. In a massive U-turn, the SNP Government have reversed the downgrading of exam results and confirmed that pupils’ grades will now be based on teacher assessment. However, Mr Swinney, who is facing a vote of no confidence from Parliament, was accused of allowing the “disgraceful” outcome by Scottish Tory MSP Jamie Greene.

Mr Greene told the minister: “Can I thank the cabinet secretary for advanced sight of his statement today. All 18 pages of it.

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“The longest resignation speech in history minus the resignation.

“In extraordinary circumstances, Mr Swinney promised us an exam system which would disadvantage no one. He promised dialogue, openness and fairness for all.

“But what do we get instead? A methodology clouded in secret, a lack of transparency and engagements, teachers were ignored.”

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He added: “A postcode lottery which disgracefully penalised those from our worst off communities the most, a grading process which put the system ahead of the individual and an endless denial that there was a problem with any of this.”

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The Education Secretary claimed that there is no evidence that young people from deprived communities have been disadvantaged.

Mr Swinney was backed by First Minister Nicola Sturgeon, but both have now been forced into apologies and a humiliating U-turn.

Mr Greene demanded: “Who signed off the adoption of this methodology? But, more importantly, why was this broad approach agreed, pursued and defended so vigorously by him and his Government?”

The SNP minister continued: “I didn’t prescribe how this was to be done as politicians can’t be seen to interfering in examining, according to expert Professor Lindsay Paterson.

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“That would not be acceptable. That is why we have an independent SQA.

“Now I’m conscious that I’ve just interfered in examining, and I put my hands up and I accept that point.

“But the point Professor Paterson is making is that decisions have to be taken on examination standards by an independent body.

“Those are the arrangements here. The Government sets the task and the SQA developed the methodology to enable that to be the case.”

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