Nicola Sturgeon has apologised for the SQA exam results and has admitted that ministers have put concerns about “the overall system” ahead of individual pupils.

Speaking at her daily briefing in Edinburgh, the First Minister also addressed the Aberdeen lockdown, the number of Covid-19 cases in Scotland, the country’s schools reopening and Transport Scotland’s Travel Safe campaign.

Here are five things to take away from today’s briefing:

READ MORE: Nicola Sturgeon: 'I'm sorry' for exams fiasco

SQA Exams Apology

The First Minister apologised for the SQA exam results and said that the Scottish Government will ensure that every young person gets a grade that recognises the work they have done.

She said: “Let me be clear about this - in a very difficult and unprecedented situation, we took decisions that we thought, on balance, were the right ones, and we took them with the very best of intentions.”

Nicola Sturgeon added: “Our concern – which was to make sure that the grades young people got, were as valid as those they would have got in any other year - perhaps led us to think too much about the overall system and not enough about the individual pupil.

“And that has meant that too many students feel that they have lost out on grades they should have had - and also that has happened  as a result, not of anything they’ve done, but because of a statistical model or an algorithm. In addition, that burden has not fallen equally across our society.

“So despite our best intentions, I do acknowledge that we did not get this right and I am sorry for that.”

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Aberdeen Lockdown

Nicola Sturgeon has not ruled out extending Aberdeen's lockdown after more than 150 cases were linked to a coronavirus cluster.

The First Minister said: “Having done it, we need to make sure we do it long enough to get the cluster and the outbreak under control and so I can't rule out and won't rule out the possibility that we may have to extend for a further seven days.”

Ms Sturgeon added: “More generally, the events of the past fortnight have been a reminder of how fragile Scotland's overall position is and that is the same in countries across the world.

“The fact is we all still need to be really careful right now and Aberdeen is very hard proof of that fact.

“While our lives have regained a bit of normality in recent weeks, nobody's life should be feeling absolutely normal at the moment.

“Covid is still present and we know it is still highly infectious so all of us have a big role to play in keeping it under control.”

Aberdeen's lockdown will be reviewed on Wednesday.

New Covid-19 numbers

There have been no new deaths in Scotland overnight from Covid-19 for the twenty-eighth day in a row, as 29 new positive cases were announced today.

She said: “I’m also very pleased to say that yet again in the past 24 hours, no deaths were registered of patients who tested positive over the previous 28 days and therefore the number of deaths under that measurement remains 2,491.

“Obviously though the total number of deaths still reminds us every single day of the dreadful impact of Covid and my condolences again go to everyone who has suffered loss.

“And as always, I want to thank everyone who is working hard to help our country through this pandemic.”

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Reopening of schools

Nicola Sturgeon addressed schools reopening in Scotland as thousands of pupils return to the classroom this week for the first time in March.

The First Minister said: “While young people are not required to keep two metres apart within schools, teachers and other adult staff do need to keep that distance.”

She added: “Fundamentally all of us know that the reopening of schools is essential for children’s education, personal development and indeed I think for their general wellbeing and happiness.”

“I was really impressed and reassured this morning by what I saw of the preparations at West Calder, and I know those preparations are being repeated in schools right across the country, and I am very grateful to everyone – teachers, teaching assistants, local authority workers and all school staff – who are enabling schools to safely reopen.” said Nicola Sturgeon.


Transport Scotland

Ms Sturgeon announced that Transport Scotland is launching a Travel Safe campaign.

This will ask commuters to help the transport system by only travelling if you need to.

She added: “The continued need for physical distancing on public transport, as schools reopen and as more business activities resume, will put more pressure on transport services. So the Travel Safe campaign is intended to help you think about ways in which you can help with that.”