Deputy First Minister’s Statement Thursday, 19/3/20
You may by now have heard that despite the announcement yesterday of a likely blanket closure of schools from tomorrow, the Deputy First Minister has this afternoon announced that there will be an ongoing ‘critical provision’ for:
- Educational continuity for S4-6 pupils to complete SQA course work and assessment (SQA exams have been cancelled: see SQA statement below)
- Children of key workers (see government definition below)
- Vulnerable children
I anticipate that we will receive further guidance from Perth and Kinross Council shortly about the role of Breadalbane Community Campus in supporting this critical provision, but in the meantime I have been advised that we should make arrangements for targeted groups of S4-6 pupils to receive intensive support in school next week and perhaps beyond this, to ensure they meet coursework deadlines. We will provide details tomorrow of pupils who will be asked to attend school for this purpose.
Given the timescale that we are now working to, I assure you that I will provide you with an update as soon as I know more. In the meantime, however, I hope this communication is of some help in what is a rapidly developing situation.
John G Devine
These are the key worker categories identified by the Scottish Government which may vary at local level according to circumstance:
- Category 1 – Health and Care workers directly supporting COVD response, and associated staff; Health and Care workers supporting life threatening emergency work, as well as critical primary and community care provision; Energy suppliers (small numbers identified as top priority already); staff providing childcare/learning for other category 1 staff.
- Category 2 – All other Health and Care workers, and their wider public sector workers providing emergency/critical welfare services (e.g. Fire, Police, Prisons, Social Workers etc), as well as those supporting our Critical National Infrastructure, without whom serious damage to the welfare of the people of Scotland could be caused.
- Category 3 – All workers without whom there could be a significant impact on Scotland (but where the response to Covid-19, or the ability to perform essential tasks to keep the country running, would not be severely compromised).
|Statement by the Chief Executive of the Scottish Qualifications Authority and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer|
Thursday 19 March 2020
This is an unprecedented situation, and the closure of schools for an extended period will affect almost every family across Scotland.
The Scottish Qualifications Authority has recently been working through a range of scenarios in relation to the exam diet, including disruption and postponement. However, as the Deputy First Minister has outlined in Parliament today, the exam diet in 2020 cannot go ahead and I have been asked by the Deputy First Minister to develop an alternative certification model.
That work has started, at pace, and I will say more on that as soon as I can. What I can say now is that we want to ensure that we have as much information on the achievements of learners as possible. That is why the Deputy First Minister has asked schools and colleges to continue to work with young people to ensure that any units and coursework are completed and estimated grades are provided by teachers, drawing on the available evidence gathered throughout the year, to SQA’s existing deadlines, or earlier if that is possible. For many learners, we will also have prior attainment information which will be helpful to us.
I fully appreciate that this will be an uncertain time for learners who have worked hard throughout the year and will now, with their families, be worried about what this means for them. Everyone here at SQA will do their utmost, with the support of the education system, to ensure that their hard work is rightly and fairly recognised, and allows them to proceed to further learning or work.
We will work to ensure that learners receive their results no later than 4 August, as planned. We are considering more fully the impact this decision will have on our exceptional circumstances and post-results services. I will confirm that we will offer a free post-results service to ensure that schools and colleges continue to have a mechanism to question any result.
I would strongly encourage all candidates to sign up to MySQA, our online and text service, as a direct way to receive their results.
Everyone at SQA is fully committed to delivering for Scotland’s young people at this exceptionally difficult time.
SQA Chief Executive and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer