MP MARION: “LOCAL PUPILS DESERVE FAIRNESS AND ROBUST APPEALS PROCESS”

6th August 2020

MOST DEPRIVED PUPILS HAVE GRADES DISPROPORTIONATELY LOWERED COMPARED TO THOSE FROM WELL OFF BACKGROUNDS

Following the publication of the Scottish Qualification Authority’s (SQA) results this week, Marion Fellows, MP for Motherwell and Wishaw, has called on the Scottish Government to ensure local pupils are graded fairly after those from more deprived backgrounds received disproportionately lower grades.

Due to the exam diet being cancelled by Covid, teachers were asked to recommend a grade for each pupil in each class. The SQA then amended grades based on schools’ previous performances rather than each pupil’s actual performance.

Figures show that pupils from the most deprived communities according to the Social Index for Multiple Deprivation (SIMD) had their recommended grades disproportionately reduced compared to pupils from the most well-off communities.

Those in the most deprived fifth had their recommended Higher pass rate reduced by 15.2% compared to just 6.9% for those in the most well off fifth.

This year, Craigneuk was deemed to be the most deprived area in Scotland for education by the SIMD.

Commenting, Mrs Fellows said:

“I have written to Education Secretary John Swinney to ensure local pupils who have been denied a fair assessment of their ability due to the SQA’s flawed grading method have access to a robust and rigorous appeals process.

“As a former college lecturer, I know the importance of education in improving peoples’ life chances. These results will not just impact these students in the present. It could impact their future. As the economy takes the full impact of Covid, we must provide our young people with a reason for hope and a fair chance as they progress into adulthood. 

“Motherwell, Wishaw and Bellshill have many hardworking and capable young people – and those who have received the grades they wanted deserve congratulations. But all pupils deserve their efforts to be reflected in their grades. Not have it decided by their school’s previous performance.

“School performance is linked to peoples’ social and economic background. This isn’t a fair way to assess a person’s ability and it will only entrench the attainment gap we have in Scotland.”