Informed Scotland September 2020 – Exams, mental health & the student perspective

This busy edition includes key announcements and guidance up to and including 9 October.

The keenly awaited decisions on the 2020/21 National Qualifications exams were announced on 7 October, alongside initial guidance and support from the SQA and publication of Prof Mark Priestley’s Rapid Review of the 2020 experience. A summary of each, including all nine review recommendations, are provided for our readers.

The return of students to colleges and universities saw the hybrid or blended learning model adopted by many institutions tilted firmly (and in some cases solely) towards online rather than face-to-face sessions. It is therefore important to see reports from the student perspective, including:

For obvious reasons, in a departure from what we’ve become used to, the new Scottish Government annual programme doesn’t explicitly name education as a priority, beyond ‘ensur[ing] that school closures do not go on for a minute longer than necessary’. However there are plenty of learning & skills related plans for the new parliamentary session, and not all directly connected to the pandemic. For example, a framework for school age childcare, implementing recommendations from the review of additional support for learning, and developing a lifelong learning strategy.

Mental health and wellbeing is a hot topic right across the landscape – we highlight a number of new support initiatives, including for teachers, pupils, students and youth workers. Expect to see more focus on this in the months ahead.

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