John Swinney has announced today that the Scottish Government will abandon the downgrade of more than 124,564 exams and said original teacher estimates will be used to determine this year’s results instead. 

The Education Secretary announced the U-turn after a backlash from students who felt they had been treated unfairly by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) when it recalculated their results.

John Swinney said he knew that the apology was not enough, and action would need to be taken to rectify the situation.

Here are seven things you need to know from his announcement:

Teachers estimates to be restored:

All downgraded marks will be restored and new certificates sent out.

Mr Swinney said: “Using powers available to me in the Education (Scotland) Act 1996, I am today directing the SQA to re-issue those awards based solely on teacher or lecturer judgment.

“Schools will be able to confirm the estimates they provided for pupils to those that are returning to school this week and next.

“The SQA will issue fresh certificates to affected candidates as soon as possible and, importantly, will inform Ucas and other admission bodies of the new grades as soon as practical in the coming days to allow for applications to college and university to be progressed.”

What are the new Scottish results?

The A to C attainment rates for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher are now expected to jump by 10.7, 14.4 and 13.7 percentage points compared to 2019, rising to 88.9%, 89.2% and 93.1% respectively.

Will any grades be lowered?

The Education Secretary has said that no grades which were moderated to give an increased mark will be reduced.

HeraldScotland:

When will the results be given?

John Swinney said that schools will be able to confirm the estimates they provided for pupils to those that are returning to school this week and next.

He added: "The SQA will issue fresh certificates to affected candidates as soon as possible and, importantly, will inform UCAS and other admission bodies of the new grades as soon as practical in the coming days to allow for applications to college and university to be progressed.

Will all students get into their course?

He has said that due to the unique circumstances of this situation the Scottish Government “will make provision for enough places in universities and colleges to ensure that no one is crowded out of a place they would otherwise have been awarded."

What if I have already appealed?

Pupils, who had been encouraged to appeal their downgrades, will get their new results automatically, although appeals will still be possible if desired. 

What will happen next year?

John Swinney said that a current review is being conducted by the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

He said: "I assure Parliament that we will look to learn lessons from the process of awarding qualifications this year that will help to inform any future actions."

He also said that an investigation will be undertaken to look at how this year’s awards were handed out.

He said: “Coronavirus has not gone away and, while we expect next year’s exams to go ahead, we need to put in place the right plans to make sure we don’t find ourselves in the same situation again.”

Mr Swinney announced that a “rapid consultation exercise” with teachers will start this week, looking at removing parts of course assessment and adjusting the volume of evidence required in coursework.

This report is to be expected within the next five weeks.