Coronavirus in Scotland: John Swinney says cancelling Highers next year cannot be ruled out

Scotland’s depute First Minister said he cannot rule out Higher exams being cancelled next year and confirmed he will make a final decision in February 2021.

Speaking to BBC Radio Scotland, education secretary John Swinney said: "The latest point at which we can take that decision will be the February break, around about the middle of February.

"Obviously we will be looking very carefully at what is the degree of disruption to young people and what is the state of the pandemic at that stage.

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"It is quite a long way off but we have to make sure that we have the effective contingency plans in place.

Cancelling Highers cannot be ruled out, according to John Swinney picture: JPI Media
Cancelling Highers cannot be ruled out, according to John Swinney picture: JPI Media

His comments come shortly after Wales decided to cancel all A level and GCSE exams next year, prompting the question if Scotland is to follow suit.

He added: "There’s a very broad range of opinions about this question.

“What I concluded was is that there was a very clear desire among stakeholders for the Highers and Advance Highers to take their course because they are of course, the passport to the next stage of education, work and life for young people.

"It is a difficult question and it is one that we reflect on very carefully because we want to make sure young people are able to have certification for their achievements."

John Swinney announced the cancellation of 2021 National 5 exams for pupils in Scotland in October this year as part of the Scottish Government’s response to the exams fiasco.

He will be speaking in front of MSPs at Holyrood this afternoon.

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