OPPOSITION MSPs have called on the Scottish Government to formally axe next year’s schools exams, insisting “a year of constant uncertainty isn’t fair”.

This afternoon, Deputy First Minister and Education Secretary John Swinney will deliver a statement to MSPs in Holyrood that will set out the Scottish Government’s stance on next year’s exams.

Mr Swinney has previously insisted that ministersthe Government intended to press ahead with exams taking place next summer if possible after this year’s diet was scrapped following the closure of schools amid the Covid-19 crisis.

Today’s announcement will also take place a week after a review of the exams fiasco, undertaken by Professor Mark Priestly on behalf of the Scottish Government, was due to report its findings.

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The SQA and the Scottish Government came under fire after ministers were forced into a U-turn over the moderation used for this year’s exams which resulted in thousands of students having their grades downgraded.

Pupils from less affluent backgrounds were hit hardest as a school’s previous attainment was taken into account.

Despite the change of heart from the Scottish Government, Holyrood’s education committee has warned that issues remain in the plans for next year’s exams.

The Scottish Greens have formally called for Mr Swinney to cancel plans to hold exams and allow schools to prepare for an alternative.

The party’s education spokesperson, Ross Greer, said: “It’s just not possible to say today that the 2021 exams will go ahead. Even if they did, it would be at the end of a year in which thousands of young people have already and will continue to have their education disrupted by self-isolation and potential local lockdowns.

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“A year of constant uncertainty isn’t fair on teachers or pupils. Making the call now to cancel and replace the exams with a system in which young people are graded on their work throughout the year isn’t just the fairest option, it is the only one which can provide certainty.”

He added: “If the Government were to insist on exams going ahead, the worst-case scenario isn’t Covid forcing last-minute cancellation across the country, it’s sudden localised outbreaks or lockdowns preventing some young people from taking the exam whilst others are able to.

“This year’s last-minute replacement for exams was a disaster. To avoid both that and the risk posed by exams themselves, the Education Secretary needs to make the only responsible call, cancelling and replacing the 2021 exams now.”

Mr Swinney said that keeping schools open would “continue to be a priority”, amid the need for further restrictions to be rolled out.

He added that the Scottish Government was “absolutely focused and committed to ensuring that we maintain our education settings as open on a full time basis”.