Most parents want exams scrapped, survey finds

Exams planned for 2021 'simply cannot deliver a fair and equal opportunity' for students, fear parents

Henry Hepburn

Coronavirus: Most parents in Scotland want next year's SQA exams to be scrapped, survey finds

Most parents and carers want next year's Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exams to be cancelled, according to a national survey.

It was announced on 7 October that the 2021 National 5 exams would not go ahead, but the plan remains for some form of Higher and Advanced Higher exams to take place.

Now, the National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS), in a survey that attracted 4,196 responses, has found overwhelming support for cancelling all exams.


Background: National 5 exams cancelled amid coronavirus fears

Also today: ‘Delusional’ advice to learn new instrument attacked

SQA exams: 'Prelims aren't perfect – but they're as good as it gets'

Quick read: Decision to cancel exams could come as late as February


Coronavirus: Parents' fears over 2021 exams

Key findings in the NPFS survey include:

  • Almost three-quarters of parents and carers (74 per cent) feel that their child’s learning has been significantly disrupted by the Covid-19 pandemic.
  • Most parents and carers feel their child does not have a fair chance of achieving the Higher and/or Advanced Higher grades they deserve (56.7 per cent) and only 15 per cent indicate strongly that their child will achieve the grades they believe they deserve.
  • A little over one-quarter of respondents (26.7 per cent) believe that the exam diet for Higher and Advanced Highers should go ahead in May 2021, with just over a half of those polled wishing the exam diet cancelled (50.6 per cent).
  • There is strong confidence in the judgement of teachers to predict grades for children and young people: only 17 per cent of parents and carers expressed little or no confidence in the predicted grades of their children.
  • Most parents and carers (75.1 per cent) want any decision to cancel the Higher and Advanced Higher exam diet to be made immediately or, at the latest, before Christmas.

NPFS co-vice chair Barrie Sheppard said: “We know from our correspondence with parents and carers across the country that our young people are encountering difficult circumstances in their day-to-day learning, with self-isolation of both pupils and staff taking a massive toll on their health and wellbeing at this critical time in their lives.

“It is evidently clear that parents and carers across the country believe the current Higher and Advanced Higher exam diet for 2021 simply cannot deliver a fair and equal opportunity for all students and that the professional judgement of teaching staff will again be required to support an alternative model of assessment.”

Register to continue reading for free

It only takes a moment and you'll get access to more news, plus courses, jobs and teaching resources tailored to you

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn

Henry Hepburn is the news editor for Tes Scotland

Find me on Twitter @Henry_Hepburn

Latest stories

Covid in schools, GCSEs 2021, teacher safety: LIVE

Coronavirus and schools: LIVE 18/1

A one-stop shop for teachers who want to know what impact the ongoing pandemic will have on their working lives
Tes Reporter 18 Jan 2021