A ROW is brewing over whether next year’s school exams should be cancelled. 

Pupils at local schools must wait to discover if they will sit exams in 2021 amid uncertainty caused by the coronavirus crisis.

Last year’s exams were scrapped, with pupils handed estimated grades after their school’s past results were taken into consideration.

That led to complaints that those from less affluent areas were unfairly disadvantaged, with Education Secretary John Swinney later deciding that results downgraded through the ‘moderation’ process would be replaced by grades estimated by teachers.

Now there are calls for him to rule out the 2021 exams diet in a bid to avoid a repeat of last year’s controversy.

It has been reported that Mr Swinney plans to cancel all National 5 exams but allow Highers to go ahead.

But Ross Greer, who represents Renfrewshire and East Renfrewshire in his role as Green MSP for West Scotland, believes it would be an “unacceptable risk” to announce that exams will definitely go ahead next May, as disruption in schools throughout the year or last-minute cancellations cannot be ruled out.

“Highers are a critical qualification for young people, so leaving even part of those grades up to exams which the Education Secretary cannot guarantee will go ahead is a huge risk,” said Mr Greer.

“John Swinney has already acknowledged the huge logistical challenge presented by attempting to run exams, given all pupils must sit the exam at the same time but a maximum of only 50 pupils can be in any exam hall.

“This doesn’t even take into account the impact of any local or national lockdowns, the huge workload that preparing for both exams and an alternative contingency would place on teachers or the reality that a month’s learning and teaching time in June has already been lost.

“The only reliable solution is to cancel the 2021 exams now and grade pupils based on their work throughout the year.”

Mr Swinney is expected to lay out his plans next month.

A Scottish Government spokesman said: “Our ambition is to run a 2021 examination diet. However, there remains a risk of further disruption for learners and schools or more widely across the country.”