Nicola Sturgeon should be “ashamed” of her record on education, the Scottish Conservatives have said, as they called for a guarantee that exams will go ahead this year.
The call was made after the exam diet was cancelled in 2020 and 2021 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
In August last year, the Scottish Government indicated that exams would go ahead in spring 2022 as normal “if safe to do so”.
A debate has now been tabled by the Scottish Conservatives in a move demanding that exams go ahead.
The party will also use the debate at Holyrood to urge the SNP to make education their top priority and to seek to tackle the attainment gap.
Scottish Conservative children and young people spokesperson Meghan Gallacher described the SNP’s record on education as a “tale of broken promises and failed reforms”.
“When she became First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon asked to be judged on her education record. On that basis, she should be ashamed of herself,” said Gallacher.
“It is essential that exams finally go ahead this year – and the SNP Government must commit to them being held. Pupils, teachers and parents have suffered enough anxiety, frustration and confusion after two years of cancellations.
“The education secretary revealed last week that the government had no contingency plans in place to hold exams at alternative venues, in the event of Covid restrictions, and that no money had been set aside for this. That’s deeply concerning because cancelling them cannot be an option.
“The SNP’s record on education is a tale of broken promises and failed reforms.”
Gallacher urged the First Minister to make education, rather than a Scottish independence referendum, her top priority.
She said: “Scotland once led the way in education but standards have fallen dramatically after 15 years of SNP rule – and it is children from disadvantaged backgrounds who are suffering most.
“Nicola Sturgeon must finally make education – not another divisive independence referendum – her top priority.”
A Scottish Government spokesperson said that “exams will go ahead in the spring if it is safe to do so”.
They added: “They will only be cancelled if public health advice dictates this – for example, if there are restrictions on gatherings during the exams timetable.”