The crisis engulfing the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) looks set to deepen this afternoon as MSPs prepare for a vote that could see them declare it has lost the confidence of Parliament.   

It comes after Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville announced young people taking part in this year's alternative certification model (ACM) would be able to appeal directly to the exams body if they are unhappy with results. However, there is mounting anger that pupils could see grades revised up or down.

Critics are also concerned that the planned process appears not to include provision for challenges based on "exceptional individual circumstances" such as bereavement, ill-health or inadequate access to devices for remote teaching.

READ MORE: Education Secretary at centre of growing storm

However, the SQA has introduced a September 3 extension for those who have suffered severe disruption to learning and are unlikely to have all their evidence gathered in time for the June 25 submission date. The appeals service will also be free.

MSPs will later debate and vote on an amendment, tabled by Green MSP Ross Greer, that calls on Parliament to express regret for “the additional stress and anxiety felt by students, teachers, parents and carers as a result of the 2021 Alternative Certification Model”.

HeraldScotland: New Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has found herself at the centre of a growing storm over the SQA's performance.New Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has found herself at the centre of a growing storm over the SQA's performance.

Parliament is also being asked to confirm it “believes that this could have largely been avoided had the SQA taken on board the conclusions of the Priestley review into the 2020 Alternative Certification Model, and more effectively prepared for the impact of COVID-19 in 2020-21; further believes that the 2021 appeals process should adopt a no-detriment policy and that provision should be made for appeals based on exceptional individual circumstances; notes with regret the repeated underperformance of the SQA, and expresses its lack of confidence in the body’s ability to fulfill its duties."

READ MORE: Glasgow schools boss calls for grades overhaul

The debate is likely to result in deadlock given the SNP has 64 seats at Holyrood. In that eventuality, Presiding Officer Alison Johnstone would have the casting vote.

Although the amendment is not binding on the Government, formal backing for it would put ministers under immense pressure to act in response to concerns over the SQA's performance.