Somerville promises Scottish pupils will get 'fair' set of exam results

·3-min read
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.
Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.

SCOTLAND’S Education Secretary has said the approach taken to grading this year's national exams will deliver a "fair" set of results.

Shirley-Anne Somerville's comments come as pupils across the country find out tomorrow how they have done after sitting assessments for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications.

Earlier the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) said that pupils sitting exams this year have been graded ‘generously’ following ongoing disruption due to Covid.

They were the first full set of exams to have taken place since before the start of the pandemic after results in 2020 and 2021 were based on teacher judgement, supported by assessment resources.

But despite the return of the exams this year, many schools were hit by high levels of pupil and teacher absences due to high levels of Covid in the community and the seeding of the highly infectious Omicron variant.

Speaking ahead of results day tomorrow, Ms Somerville thanked teachers, school staff, and the SQA for all their efforts.

“While we saw a return to exams this year, it wasn’t a return to normality," she said.

“Continued disruption as a result of Covid-19 meant there had to be a different approach to exams.

"That approach, which was informed by views from across the education system as well as learners themselves, had one clear aim – to deliver a fair set of results for our young people, while maintaining the integrity of qualifications."

She said: “I would like to thank teachers, school staff and the SQA who have all worked incredibly hard to achieve this.

“Due to their efforts, learners can be confident that the results they receive on Tuesday fairly demonstrate their skills, knowledge and understanding.

"They can also know that their qualifications will be valued wherever they go next, whether education, training or the workforce.”

Meanwhile, business leaders have promised Scottish youngsters they will "recognise and value qualifications as much as any other year" ahead of tomorrow's results.

In a letter to students, signed by 18 business leaders, firms north of the border have committed to create good jobs for youngsters as they enter the world of work while reminding them that there are different career pathways to take regardless of their grades.

The letter, penned by Sandy Begbie of Scottish Financial Enterprise (SFE), also said that qualifications will be valued the same as any other year.

The open letter - which includes signatories from the Scottish Retail Consortium, the Scottish Chambers of Commerce, and the CBI - said: "As employers we recognise the challenges you have faced over the last two years and take great confidence in the ingenuity and resilience shown to overcome them.

"We want to reassure you that we recognise and value your qualifications as much as any other year and that the skills you have developed, and will continue to develop, will play a crucial role in ensuring a bright future for businesses in Scotland and our economy."

The business leaders, who said they wanted to reassure students of their "commitment and support no matter what path" they followed, added: "We are committed to creating job opportunities for you so that you can have a positive future. Scotland is fortunate in having a wide range of industries offering many exciting jobs for you to consider for your future career.

"There are lots of industries continuing to grow and new ones emerging which offer opportunities across all of Scotland. Employers will continue to need young people with fresh ideas and experience to get involved and work together with us."