Swinney survives no confidence vote after exam controversy

The SNP minister has been under pressure lately over the exam controversy.

Swinney survives no confidence vote after exam controversy Getty Images

The Scottish Government’s education secretary has survived a vote of no confidence.

A motion tabled by Scottish Labour against John Swinney was defeated by 67 MSPs to 58.

The SNP minister came under fire over the Scottish Qualification Authority’s downgrading of teachers’ estimates during a year of no exams because of the pandemic.

The support of the Scottish Greens made sure he survived the motion, the party having already been satisfied by Swinney’s change in stance on Tuesday.

In a statement to parliament two days ago, Swinney apologised to the students for the SQA moderation system and confirmed thousands of pupils who had marks downgraded would have them replaced by the estimates.

After the vote, the Scottish Conservatives Holyrood leader Ruth Davidson said Swinney should still resign.

She said: “The scale of this failure is to such a degree that it prompts the question – if this isn’t a resignation matter, then what is?”

Opening the Holyrood debate, Scottish Labour leader Richard Leonard called on Swinney to resign.

He said: “This afternoon is not about personalities, it is not about retribution for what happened last week with the SQA shambles.

“It is about the principle of the democracy and accountability of the Scottish Government to this Scottish Parliament.

“It is about a time of reckoning for a long line of failures.

“But, more importantly, it is about the future; the future of our schools, of our pupils of Scottish education.”

The SQA moderation process initially saw the downgrading of 124,564 results – 93.1% of all the moderated grades.

Figures showed the pass rate for Higher pupils from the most deprived areas of Scotland fell by 15.2% compared against 6.9% in the most affluent parts of the country.

The situation meant pupils protested in Glasgow on Friday – many believing they were penalised for living in less affluent areas of Scotland.

STV News is now on WhatsApp

Get all the latest news from around the country

Follow STV News
Follow STV News on WhatsApp

Scan the QR code on your mobile device for all the latest news from around the country

WhatsApp channel QR Code