THE Scottish Government is being called on to address exam "chaos" in schools amid reports of plans to drop National 5 exams for S4 and S5 pupils.

Under a proposal put together by the Scottish curriculum and assessment board - which advises ministers - the "preferred option" would be to replace the exams with a process of continuous assessment, The Sunday Times reported.

The board was also said to have warned courses could be streamlined, with restrictions in the choice of subjects available and that some pupils may sit subjects over two years, rather than one.

It comes at a time when concerns are already high over the impact of the pandemic lockdown on education and the looming threat of future school closures if the virus spikes again.

It was reported that the proposals were put forward on June 26, three days after education secretary, John Swinney, announced a U-turn from proceeding with blended learning to allowing schools to open full-time from August, with exams taking place next year.

Scottish Labour education spokesperson Iain Gray said: "The current chaos in Scotland's schools due to the Scottish Government’s handling of the coronavirus crisis risks exacerbating the already serious attainment gap, and we can't afford more chaos and confusion around National 5 exams.

"Children from disadvantaged backgrounds are disproportionately more likely to leave after sitting their National 5s.  The decisions taken by ministers now could seriously affect not just the credibility of National 5 qualifications, but also the employment prospects of those sitting them.

"Nicola Sturgeon and John Swinney need to sort this out and give pupils, parents and teachers the clarity they need. Pupils who leave school after taking National 5s must not be made to pay the price of the SNP government's education crisis."

A Scottish Government spokesperson said: “Planning for the 2021 examination diet is underway and our expectation is that it will take place. Consideration will be given to slightly delaying the exam diet to provide more learning and teaching opportunities for senior phase candidates, in addition to any other flexibilities and contingencies which may need to be in place to accommodate prevailing public health advice.

“Discussions about exams will continue to take place as part of the work of the Education Recovery Group...Decisions will be based on the best assessment of current public health advice and what impact this may have on the operation of schools next year. These circumstances have changed since the paper referred to was written, and the Education Recovery Group will take this into consideration.”