Contingency measures for exams 2022: FOI release

Information request and response under the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002

Information requested

The Scottish Government has today confirmed that exams will take place in 2022 (if safe to do so) -

1. Does the government have any definition or set of conditions that will determine whether it is “safe to do so”? If so, please release this information. If not, please confirm that it does not exist.

2. What triggers have been set that would lead to the initiation of one of the contingency measures listed in the press release. Please either release this information or confirm that it does not exist.

3. What specific checkpoints have been set to determine when decisions about 2022 exams will be made? Please either release this information or confirm that it does not exist.


While our aim is to provide information whenever possible, in this instance the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested.

This is a formal notice under section 17(1) of FOISA that the Scottish Government does not have some of the information you have requested under part one of your enquiry.

The reasons that the Scottish government does not have the information is outlined below with answers to your questions.

1. As announced on 18 August, the central planning assumption is that exams will take place for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher in spring 2022 if public health advice allows. Any determination that it is not safe for exams to proceed would be similarly based on public health advice at the time.

2. As confirmed by SQA on 15 September, triggers for initiation of contingency measures would be increasing levels of disruption.

If there is further significant disruption to learning and teaching this session, appropriate additional support measures for learners will be put in place to help reduce pre-exam stress. If the Covid-19 pandemic gets worse to the point where physical gatherings are restricted at the time of the exams, the SQA exam diet will be cancelled. If this happens, teachers and lecturers will be asked to determine provisional results by using their professional judgement of evidence that shows each learner’s skills, knowledge and understanding. Further detail on the contingencies can be found at:

3. The flexibility of the contingencies put in place means that decisions can be taken at any point up to the end of March 2022.

The Scottish Government and the SQA are monitoring public health advice and the levels of disruption within schools on an ongoing basis. Any decisions will also be informed by the views of partners, including those on the National Qualifications Group, which includes representatives of young people, parents, teachers and other education professionals.

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Please quote the FOI reference
Central Enquiry Unit
Phone: 0300 244 4000

The Scottish Government
St Andrews House
Regent Road

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