Pupils will benefit from a “sensitive approach” to grading for this year’s exams, it has been confirmed.

Youngsters at local schools were locked out of classrooms for several days because of recent strikes by teachers in a dispute over pay.

That led to concerns over the impact this could have on pupils’ performance in exams.

However, Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville has pledged that “mitigations” previously put in place by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) to help children deal with disruption caused by Covid will continue for this year’s exam diet.

She said this has been planned in case of “ongoing impacts” from coronavirus and will also “help to mitigate disruption arising from the industrial action.”

Ms Somerville was quizzed about the matter during a debate at Holyrood, which heard that some MSPs have been contacted by pupils who are worried about how the disruption caused by teachers going on strike will affect their performance in exams and how the SQA will take this into account.

She sought to provide reassurance by confirming the SQA had already confirmed that measures introduced for the 2022 exams would be repeated this year.

“These modifications vary by subject and level and include the reduction of course assessment, requiring less coursework than in a normal year and leaving more time for teaching and learning,” said Ms Somerville.

“The SQA has also confirmed that a sensitive approach to grading is planned, dependent on the impact of any disruption on exam and coursework performance.

“While implemented to acknowledge the ongoing impacts of Covid, these measures will also help to mitigate disruption arising from the industrial action.

“Schools, our local authorities and our agencies are working hard to ensure we are providing support.”