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Scotland's Education Secretary confirms pupil's with lowered grades will receive fresh certificates

SNP’s major U-turn means that grades will now be based on estimates previously submitted by teachers

SCOTLAND’S Education Secretary John Swinney has confirmed that pupils whose grades were lowered this year will receive fresh certificates, following complaints that young people from deprived areas were unfairly disadvantaged. 

Today’s major U-turn means that grades will now be based on estimates previously submitted by teachers.

Mr Swinney had been criticised after Higher pass rates for pupils in the most deprived areas were slashed by 15.2 per cent, compared with 6.9 per cent in the most affluent parts of the country.

He said that he had spoken to a number of young people who had protested following the release of the results last week, with almost 125,000 students affected.

He added that “there was always a risk” that grades would be adjusted in a way that would not reflect the attainment of the pupil.

Mr Swinney, who is also Deputy First Minister, told MSPs: “It is deeply regrettable that we got this wrong and I am sorry for that.”

The small number of pupils whose results were upgraded will not be affected, he added, while also announcing that an independent review will take place into the “fiasco,” reporting within five weeks. 

A review of the “curriculum for excellence” education system in Scotland has also been widened by the government to encompass whether or not the assessment system is fit for purpose, Mr Swinney confirmed.

He will face a vote of no confidence later this week, tabled by Scottish Labour and supported by the Conservatives, with the Liberal Democrats and Greens yet to announce how they will vote.

Scottish Labour’s Iain Gray said that the announcement was a victory for “fairness” and “common sense” but a “humiliating climbdown” for the Education Secretary.

Mr Gray said that the government had been warned months ago of the outcome of moderation, but Mr Swinney had failed to act and must now resign. 

The Scottish Greens welcomed the announcement, adding that teachers should always have been trusted to judge their pupils. 

MSP Ross Greer said: “Scottish Greens were clear throughout this process that our priority was securing a solution for the tens of thousands of pupils, teachers and parents affected. We are glad to have achieved that today.”

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