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Live Reporting

BBC Scotland News

All times stated are UK

  1. Here are the headlines from the first minister's briefing...

    That's all from us here on the live page on Monday 10 August 2020.

    Here are the headlines from today's Scottish government briefing:

    Nicola Sturgeon
    Image caption: Nicola Sturgeon says she's sorry over Scottish exam results
    • People may be confusing the symptoms of lung cancer with Covid-19 and the interim CMO calls on people with symptoms to contact the NHS or their GP
    • The first minister urges everyone to follow the FACTS advice including Boris Johnson who is reported to be coming to Scotland on holiday.
  2. First minister apologises over exam results

    Video content

    Video caption: Coronavirus: Nicola Sturgeon says 'sorry' for Scottish exam results

    Nicola Sturgeon has apologised after accepting her government "did not get it right" over Scottish exam results.

    With no exams sat this year due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) ran a system based on teacher assessments.

    However, officials then applied a moderation technique which led to about 125,000 estimates being downgraded.

    The first minister said this approach was too focused on the "overall system" and not enough on individual pupils.

    Education Secretary John Swinney will set out the government's plan to fix the issue on Tuesday, with Ms Sturgeon saying the onus would not be on students to submit appeals.

    Opposition parties are pushing for a vote of no confidence in the education secretary, but Ms Sturgeon said she had faith in Mr Swinney and that the row was "not party political".

  3. What's the evidence of virus transmission in schools?

    Rachel Schraer

    BBC Health Reporter

    school pupil

    The UK government is saying today that there's little evidence of coronavirus being transmitted in schools.

    The evidence is clear that children are much less likely to become very ill from coronavirus than adults, particularly older adults. What role they play in spreading the virus to others, though, is less clear.

    A few studies around the world using contact tracing have suggested children are less likely to pass the virus on, but the evidence so far is fairly weak.

    In countries where schools have already reopened, cases don’t seem to have risen significantly - though this may be telling us how well the schools are being managed rather than anything about children’s natural ability to transmit the virus.

    And schools don’t just bring children together – teachers, parents at school gates and other knock-on effects like increased use of public transport or more carers being able to go back to work could also influence the spread of the virus.

    A UK study predicted what might happen once you include all those factors, and suggested schools could contribute to a second wave if our contact tracing system isn't good enough. It assumed children were half as likely as adults to pass on the virus.

    This is only modelling but it’s a good illustration of the problem. Though we haven’t solved the question of whether children are biologically less capable of passing on the virus, the safety of reopening schools depends on other factors - including the strength of the contact tracing system and how well social distancing can be managed.

  4. FM vows pupils' results will not be downgraded

    school pupil

    Daniel Sanderson of the Daily Telegraph asks the first minister about the pupils who had their exam results upgraded as part of the moderation process.

    Ms Sturgeon replies: "I do want to take the opportunity just to allay any concerns that any young person in that position might be in.

    "We are not going to do anything that takes away a grade you got last week and I don't want anybody, the small number of people who are in that position, to worry for 24 hours. So let me be categoric about that."

    Mr Sanderson also asks the interim chief medical officer if the advice on church services might change

    Dr Gregor Smith says a number of factors need to be considered before any progress in this area, such as the cooler environmental conditions and the greater number of surfaces.

  5. 'There is a younger age profile to cases at the moment'

    hospital patient

    Adele Merson from the Press and Journal highlights the fact that the Grampian outbreak has not resulted in a corresponding increase in patients requiring hospitalisation.

    She asks the first minister if most positive cases are only presenting with mild symptoms.

    Ms Sturgeon says: "We do know that overall, as well as in Aberdeen, there is a younger age profile to cases at the moment, which may be that link between hospitality and people meeting up with friends."

    But she also warns that there is a lag between cases and people who become ill from the virus and require hospital treatment.

    Health Secretary Jeane Freeman stresses the importance of self-isolation and issues a reminder that people with no symptoms can pose a risk to those who are more vulnerable.

  6. 'What about an apology for teachers?'

    Ian Murray, shadow secretary of state for Scotland, has called on Nicola Sturgeon to apologise specifically to teachers over the exam results row.

    Following the first minister's apology to students and school pupils, he tweeted that his party's planned vote of no confidence in Education Secretary John Swinney was a factor in the "U-turn".

    View more on twitter
  7. How can public have confidence in education secretary?

    Gina Davidson from The Scotsman says if the issues around the exam results are not the fault of the SQA they must surely be the fault of the minister, John Swinney,

    She says: "How can the pupils, and the parents and the teachers continue to have confidence in him?"

    The first minster again says she won't pre-empt Mr Swinney's statement at Holyrood (join us for extensive coverage from 2.50pm tomorrow).

    She again says: "We got something wrong and we're going to try and put it right."

  8. 'We didn't get this right and we are going to fix it'

    In response to a question from Michael Blackley of the Daily Mail, the first minister says she absolves the Scottish Qualifications Authority of responsibility for the results row.

    She adds that ministers asked the body to apply an approach that delivered a set of results that were comparable to last year.

    Quote Message: When you come to a conclusion that, despite your best intentions, the impact of what happened is not the one you want or are prepared to live with then, sometimes, it is harder for someone like me to stand up and say 'We got it wrong' than it is just to keep making the same arguments and hope, as it inevitably does, that the media attention moves on. It is much better, particularly on such an important issue, to say 'We didn't get this right and we are going to fix it'. from Nicola Sturgeon First Minister
    Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister
  9. 'We all want to build confidence in a safe return to school'

    Fraser Knight from Global asks if parents will be penalised if they don't send their children to school.

    The first minister says: "I do not want anyone, particularly in these early days, to see this as some kind of adversarial stand-off between parents and schools.

    "We all want to build confidence in a safe return to school."

    She urges parents to engage with, and work with, schools in a bid to build confidence.

    Ms Sturgeon adds that she sees the "excitement" of returning to school in her own niece and nephew "coupled with the anxiety of living in a pandemic".

  10. Greens call for 'systemic solution' to exam results

    Ross Greer

    Scottish Greens MSP Ross Greer said he was pleased the first minister acknowledged that her government "got it wrong" on the exams and apologised.

    Quote Message: The working class young people who were unfairly treated last week need an urgent solution to this unacceptable situation. The education secretary's statement to parliament must announce the kind of systemic solution the Greens have demanded, otherwise our confidence in this government's ability to discharge its responsibilities in education will come into question. from Ross Greer Scottish Greens Education Spokesman
    Ross GreerScottish Greens Education Spokesman
  11. 'We didn't get this right the first time'

    Mr Musson returns to exams and argues the first minister saying the burden has not fallen equally on society is in sharp contrast to John Swinney.

    The Sun reporter says the education secretary argued the direct opposite last week, saying there was no evidence young people in deprived communities had been disadvantaged.

    The first minister says it is more important to accept when the government doesn't get things right than rigidly stick to a position.

    Ms Sturgeon adds the system this year did not create the educational attainment gap but she says initially the chance to overcome that attainment gap was not taken.

    She says she listened intently to young people's letters and emails and has done a lot of soul searching.

    Ms Stugeon insists she won't have a situation where a young person from the kind of communities she grew up in thinks the system is against them no matter how hard they work.

    That would be a bigger problem than any suggestion this year's pass rate is a bit higher than normal, she adds.

  12. 'I'm very glad to hear you're not suggesting we double up!'

    Chris Musson from the Sun says he does not suggest the first minister double up with Boris Johnson for his holiday, but asks if she will have a staycation this year.

    He also asks if Ms Sturgeon will visit the Queen at Balmoral this year.

    "In relation to the prime minister's holiday, 'I'm very glad to hear you're not suggesting we double up!" jokes the first minister.

    "I think his partner would probably take a dim view of that," she adds tongue firmly in cheek.

    "I don't have any plans for a holiday at the moment, I'm pretty fully occupied on what we are dealing with right now."

    She explains that Holyrood's recess times are different from Westminster's and adds that she has no plans at this point to see the Queen at Balmoral.

  13. Will reported PM visit to Scotland cause Covid spike?

    Boris Johnson
    Image caption: Nicola Sturgeon says she is "slightly envious" of Boris Johnson's reported holiday in Scotland

    Craig Paton from PA asks about reports the prime minister plans to come to Scotland for a two-week holiday and whether this could cause a spike in coronavirus.

    The first minister replies: "Look whether it's the prime minister or anybody else coming to Scotland, I can't wait till we get to the point where we're saying everybody come to Scotland and holiday."

    However, Ms Sturgeon points out that right now everyone visiting or living in Scotland must take great care and that includes the prime minister.

    She says when you are in Scotland you must abide by the FACT campaign.

    "The only other thing I can say to the prime minister...I'm slightly envious he is getting to holiday in Scotland, but I hope the weather stays reasonably good for him," she adds.

    "Although I cannot promise that and refuse to take any responsibility for it."

  14. School return will not be 'an anxiety-free experience'

    Alan Smith from Bauer asks the first minister about concerns teachers have as schools prepare to return for the first time in five months.

    Ms Sturgeon says she understands their reservations and talks are ongoing with unions to see if any additional measures can be introduced to provide more reassurance.

    She adds that the importance of getting children back to school "cannot be overstated" and praises the work that has been done ahead of the new term.

    The first minister also says that less than 1% of Scotland's Covid-19 cases have been in the under 15 age group, while about 2% have been in the under 20 group.

    Quote Message: Going back, given the circumstances we have lived through, is not going to be an anxiety-free experience for anyone. from Nicola Sturgeon First Minister
    Nicola SturgeonFirst Minister