EDUCATION Secretary John Swinney is facing calls to resign and could face a vote of no confidence in Parliament after the exam results “shambles”.

Scottish Labour is to table a motion of no confidence in the Deputy First Minister following a suggestion that non-priority pupils could have to wait until May 31 2021 to find out the result of any appeals.

The SQA has said that date is not correct, but are yet to state when pupils should hear the outcome of challenges.

The SQA downgraded 124,564 results for exams which were cancelled due to Covid-19.

Education Secretary John Swinney has said pass rates rose at every level and would have been the highest on record without the downgrading.

Hundreds of pupils took to Glasgow’s George Square on Friday morning to protest this year’s system of awarding exam results – the methodology of which was only revealed on results day.

READ MORE: Scottish exam results protesters slam SQA

The First Minister said the controversial process was “effectively statistical moderation” and argued results would not have been “credible” if the pass rate of the most-deprived pupils had risen by the 19.8% estimated by teachers before moderation.

Both Nicola Sturgeon and Swinney have defended the system, stressing that the appeals process would allow eligible pupils to challenge their results if they were downgraded from teachers’ estimates.

But Scottish Labour has now released what it says is a photo of the SQA’s intranet that suggested a potential nine-month wait for pupils who had appealed that were not awaiting college or university places.

The May 31 2021 date for appeal outcomes to be released has now been removed from the exam board’s internal website and the SQA said it was just to allow their online system to work.

A spokesman said: “There is no nine-month wait for grades. This was a meaningless date set as part of a technical requirement to allow the system to go live.

“We are committed to processing all appeals as quickly as possible. We will provide a date for all other reviews shortly after 21st August.”

The deadline for submitting appeals for ‘priority’ students waiting on a college or university place is August 14, and August 21 for all other pupils.

Appeal verdicts for “priority” students are due to be sent to schools or colleges by September 4.

Before the SQA released its statement, Scottish Labour’s education spokesman Iain Gray said: “Since the shambles of the SQA results emerged on Tuesday, the SQA and SNP ministers have deflected criticism through arguing that students could appeal unfair grades.

“This astonishing leak blows the lid off their defence.

“The SQA created this mess and the SNP Government has entrusted them to sort it out – but all we have seen is shambles upon shambles upon shambles.

“To throw young people’s life chances into doubt is a disgrace, but to then make them wait over nine months for justice is a total insult.”

He added: “We cannot have confidence in John Swinney and the SQA to run a credible appeals system. The only way out of this mess now is for Scottish Government to return to trusting teachers’ judgments.

“It is now clear that John Swinney has completely lost control of the SQA and the exam process, and he needs to go.

“We will seek to lay a motion to that effect and approach colleagues across Parliament for their support.”