ALMOST a year ago in this column I wrote about the SQA scandal of 2020 where kids from disadvantaged backgrounds like mine had been systematically discriminated against by a grading process that cared more about the pupil’s postcode than their academic ability.

At the time, when pupils in Glasgow rightly protested against this unfair treatment, Nicola Sturgeon, in her typical faux ‘woman of the people’ style claimed that she would have probably joined them had she been treated in a similar fashion when she was in her youth.

However the hollowness of the First Minister’s commitment to students has once again been laid bare this year in what has been described by the author of the review into last year’s scandal as an “unfolding debacle”.

We’ll all have read reports about exams (that are apparently not exams) being leaked online to social media sites like TikTok leading to a wide and fundamentally unfair variation between schools with differing testing timetables.

And last week we had the bizarre mismatch of a First Minister stating her full confidence in the SQA but only a few hours later her Education Secretary announcing major reform of the body to potentially include its role, remit, purpose, functions and governance arrangements.

The truth is that parents and pupils are tired of the SNP’s excuses.

Survey data from the Scottish Secondary Teachers’ Association shows that only 20% of teachers believe this year’s assessment process set out by the SQA is fair and reasonable, One headteacher stated: “This has been the worst, most pressurised time of my whole career”.

It is actually almost unbelievable that the Scottish Government have failed to learn any lessons from the experience of last year and seem to have gotten it so badly wrong yet again this year.

Here in Glasgow, last week’s Education, Skills and Early Years City Policy Committee provided an opportunity for councillors to get a sense on how we are handling this situation as a local authority.

On the topic of 2021 SQA attainment, my colleague, Councillor Euan Blockley, questioned the council’s education chief on what work will actually be undertaken to review this process in light of the outpouring of concern from teachers, parents and pupils.

Only a month after the Scottish election, it’s unfortunate that there has been no change in the SNP’s track record of failing our young people and squandering Scotland’s reputation for educational excellence.

I can only hope on behalf of students across the country sitting exams - that the First Minister refuses to even recognise as such - that this time around their hard work and dedication translate into the results they are entitled to.

At the Scottish Parliament and in Glasgow City Council, Scottish Conservatives will be holding the nationalists to account to fight for just that outcome.