Some teachers and pupils will face an “intense” period of exam-like assessments on their return to school, according to an MSP.

The head of the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), Fiona Robertson, has justified this as a means of avoiding an “assessment bulge” towards the end of the school year.

The Scottish Parliament’s Education Committee discussed the impact of the pandemic with numerous officials on Wednesday.

An alternative model of assessment is being used to grade pupils this year as exams have been cancelled.

All primary school pupils are expected back in classrooms on March 15, while secondary school pupils will return to the classroom full-time after the Easter break.

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A small number of secondary pupils have returned to complete practical work for qualifications.

Green MSP Ross Greer said: “I’ve had a number of teachers and pupils get in touch, particularly recently once we’ve had greater clarity of what the return is going to look like.

“Essentially, their concern is that there’ll be a number of pupils who, when they return to school, by the time they’re back with any consistency, it will be into April.

“And they’ll face a period of weeks, a rather intense few weeks, of regular assessment under what to the pupils will feel very much like exam conditions.”

Mr Greer asked Ms Robertson what assessment had been made of how this would impact the mental health and wellbeing of young people.

She explained that the SQA had made provisions for flexibility around assessment for local authorities.

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Ms Robertson added: “When schools return the consolidation of learning will be key, so ongoing learning and teaching will be key.

“We’re certainly not seeking to have an assessment bulge towards the end of the year. It certainly undermines the notion of exams being cancelled for all the right reasons.

“I think it’s an important point and I think schools are doing all that they can to ensure that these issues are considered.”

Ms Robertson said that she aims to confirm the appeals process for the new system by early May at the latest.

A consultation process will commence is the coming weeks.