NICOLA Sturgeon must remove John Swinney from his position as Education Secretary during her forthcoming Cabinet reshuffle, Scottish Labour has said.

The party accused Mr Swinney of overseeing "a litany of failures" and insisted he had lost the confidence of staff across all parts of the sector. 

It said he had failed to close the attainment gap between rich and poor pupils as well as failing to manage the impact of the pandemic. 

Ms Sturgeon is expected to carry out a wide-ranging reshuffle after she is formally confirmed as First Minister later today.

It comes after experienced ministers including former Health Secretary Jeane Freeman and Constitution Secretary Michael Russell stepped down at the Holyrood election. 

Scottish Labour education spokesman Michael Marra said: "In five years as Education Secretary John Swinney has accrued a litany of failures to his name.

"Time and time again, he has failed to meet the challenge posed by the pandemic and has now led the pupils of Scotland into yet another exams crisis.

"But John Swinney’s failings began before the pandemic. Educational standards have fallen on his watch, and the scandal that is the attainment gap has persisted stubbornly.

"In Parliament last week the Education Secretary had the chance to acknowledge the latest exams crisis which is causing misery and anxiety across the country. 

"Instead, he chose to dig in by insisting that the exams being sat in exam halls across Scotland are not exams at all.

"Crucially John Swinney has lost the confidence of staff across all parts of the sector. 

"He cannot be the person to turn the situation around and the First Minister should act now. We can only hope a new minister can stop the rot.        

"The First Minister said that improving education in Scotland was her ‘defining mission’. 

"If she wants to avoid another five years of drift and decline, then she must appoint a fresh Education Secretary.”