NICOLA Sturgeon has apologised for the exam results fiasco, telling Scotland’s schoolchildren: “We got something wrong and we’re going to try to put it right.”

Details of how that might work are due to be unveiled in Parliament today, but speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing yesterday, the First Minister made clear pupils who had been downgraded would not need to appeal.

Sturgeon, Education Secretary John Swinney and the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) came in for fierce criticism last week.

With the coronavirus crisis forcing the cancellation of Scotland’s exams for the first time in 130 years, pupils’ mark were instead based on the judgments of their teachers.

However, all of those predicted marks had to be vetted by the SQA’s national system of “moderation”.

The body said this process – the detail of which was kept under wraps until results day – was put in place to maintain “standards and credibility”.

Controversially, the exams body did this in part by looking at each school’s previous history of results.

Around 133,000 entries were adjusted. Students in Scotland’s most deprived areas had their Higher pass rate reduced by 15.2% while their peers in more affluent areas had their rates reduced by just 6.9%.

That revelation sparked outrage, with pupils taking to the streets in protest. A petition started by one teen calling for the “classist marking scheme” to be discarded has now been signed by more than 43,000 people.

Labour have tabled a motion of no confidence in Swinney for later this week. Currently, it has the support of the Tories, with the LibDems and the Greens still considering their position.

Speaking at the Scottish Government’s coronavirus briefing, Sturgeon “absolved” the SQA of any blame, saying the buck lay with her and Swinney.

She said: “In a very difficult and unprecedented situation we took decisions that we thought on balance were the right ones and we took them with the very best of intentions.

“These were broadly the same decisions that have been reached for England and Wales, as well. But our concern, which was to make sure that the grades young people got were as valid as those they would have got in any other year, perhaps led us to think too much about the overall system, and not enough about the individual pupil.

“And that has meant that too many students feel that they’ve lost out on grades that they should have had. And also that that has happened as a result, not of anything they’ve done, but because of a statistical model, or an algorithm.

“In addition, that burden has not fallen equally across our society. So despite our best intentions, I do acknowledge that we did not get this right, and I’m sorry for that.

“But instead of doing what politicians sometimes do and dig our heels in, we are determined to acknowledge that and to put it right.

“There are, of course, deeper questions that we will need to resolve for the longer term about the impact of exams on the attainment gap and on the difference between exams and teacher judgment, but the most immediate challenge is to resolve the grades awarded to pupils this year.

“As I said, we will set out our approach to model to the Scottish Parliament but let me be clear that we will not expect every student who has been downgraded to appeal.