A FIFE MSP has called for a review of a “flawed” education system after the Scottish Government made a u-turn on the downgraded exam grades of thousands of pupils.

Labour’s Alex Rowley (right) welcomed the decision by Education Secretary John Swinney to now accept teachers’ estimates of scores but said the “fiasco” had highlighted flaws in the system.

Mr Swinney apologised to students whose results were downgraded after exams were cancelled due to coronavirus when he faced MSPs this week.

A public outcry saw pupils protest against their results after almost 125,000 teachers’ estimates were downgraded.

All results that were downgraded will now be withdrawn and replaced by the original estimates.

Mr Rowley said: “I welcome the decision of the Education Secretary yesterday to revise the grades given to pupils who were downgraded in their exam results.

“However, this whole fiasco has still exposed huge flaws in our education system.

“2020 will always be the year where exams did not take place and there is nothing we can do to change that but no child should have been downgraded simply because of where they live.

“The question now is how do we address the flaws that are present in the system that have been highlighted so starkly by this fiasco.

“What is needed urgently is a comprehensive review of our education system, and I look forward to participating in that if it comes forward.

“Faith in the exams system has clearly been shaken for young people, and I am glad they made their voices clear that they wouldn’t simply accept what had happened.

“Now it it is time to try and rebuild that faith, have a much closer look at what went wrong and fix the problems so this never happens again.”

Last week, Fife councillors asked for a full report with detailed analysis of Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) exam results and factors such as as socio-economic backgrounds and school areas across the region following the backlash after thousands of pupils received worse results than expected.

Scottish Conservative MSPs Liz Smith and Murdo Fraser said there was now “no confidence” in Mr Swinney following the Scottish exams debacle.

Ms Smith said: “This last-minute u-turn by the Education Minister only came about through an outcry of anger by pupils, parents and the teaching profession.

“However, warnings were flagged up at the time of the lockdown when it became clear that exams were in jeopardy.

“Members of Parliament’s education committee previously raised concerns about the exam system but the SNP didn’t listen to that.”

Mr Fraser added: “Mr Swinney’s apology does not change the fact that he has presided over a catalogue of failures – this latest fiasco was the final straw.”

When speaking in parliament, Annabelle Ewing, SNP MSP for Cowdenbeath, said that she welcomed Mr Swinney’s announcement and that he had “listened” and “acted” following public outcry.

Speaking afterwards, she added: “The Cabinet Secretary indicated that there would be further clarity forthcoming regarding appeals which, understandably, will be more limited than was going to be the case.

“With regard to the confirmation of results, Mr Swinney told me that, while no definitive timescale could be given for the issuing of new certificates, it would be done as quickly as possible and that schools will be able to indicate to young people the estimates they submitted to the SQA.

“With schools now starting to go back, I know that parents and affected pupils will want to speak to their teachers as soon as possible to get the clarification they need.”

Mr Swinney will be facing a no-confidence vote today (Thursday) at Holyrood.