The National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS) understands the difficult decisions being taken regarding the exam diet planned for 2021.  As an organisation we have contributed to the Priestly review as well as being consultees in the process to find the best way forward for our children and young people. 

As the body representing Parents across Scotland’s public schools, we recently undertook a snap poll of Secondary School Parent Councils to gauge the views of parents and carers in advance of today’s announcement.  


Over 80% of Parent Councils who responded to our poll were opposed to the full exam sitting being forced through irrespective of the public health situation at the time.

It was clear that over 70% of respondents wished for Higher and Advanced Highers to be prioritised, given the importance of this stage of the senior phase in education. 

A narrow majority of respondents sought to have all exams be cancelled, using teacher assessment and professional judgement be used to estimate the grade expected to be awarded for each candidate. 

Clearly evident in our findings is that parents, carers and teaching professionals need to be informed as early as possible in order to mitigate the difficulties experienced with the 2020 examination diet and to allow our children and young people to attain the awards that they are entitled to expect from their level of work in these difficult times.  


Speaking about today’s announcement, NPFS Chair Margaret Wilson said

“There is no decision today that is going to please everyone in this situation; whether parents/carers, teachers and support staff and most importantly our children and young people.  The pressures faced by families, coping with stress created by the pandemic, sometimes losing employment, supporting home learning whilst balancing many other issues has been significant.  Our young people have been through a significantly stressful time and we welcome the timing of this announcement which we trust will give sufficient time for our teachers, schools and education authorities to make sufficient plans.  Most importantly we trust that our children and young people will secure confidence in knowing that there is a plan to ensure that appropriate grades are awarded which directly reflect their level of learning, not their postcode or the past performance of their school.”

Further information on the processes to be put in place by the SQA as referred to by the Deputy First Minister are available at




The National Parent Forum of Scotland is a national body led by and for parents. It is an influential national and independent body, working on behalf of parents with children in education across Scotland to help every pre-school and school pupil maximise their potential.

The National Parent Forum of Scotland is comprised of volunteer parent/carer representatives from each of Scotland’s 32 local authority areas. Please visit for more details.

The National Parent Forum of Scotland represents parents and carers by engaging with them and parent councils, and we are involved in working with both local and national levels of government to make sure that parents and carers have a full and equal voice in our children’s education.
We aim to fairly represent all parents, and we appreciate that there are a wide range of views and opinions.

The exam season is nearly upon us, with the first exams taking place on Wednesday 4th May. If your child is looking for help with their revision, then why not point them in the direction of NPFS’ “in a Nutshell” revision guides. The guides are available in a range of National 5 and Higher subjects, and have been fully updated for 2016. They provide links to past papers, marking instructions and helpful online resources, all gathered together on one leaflet.

Higher revision guides

National 5 revision guides