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OIC praises staff and pupils for maintaining high pass rate

Pupils are set to receive their SQA results, today, Tuesday.

Orkney secondary school pupils have maintained an overall pass rate of 83 per cent in their SQA results, according to Orkney Islands Council.

This means that there has been no change in the rate of passes across the county, this year, compared with 2019 — despite qualifications having been gained under the adverse conditions of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Despite the unprecedented cancellation of national exams, this year, pupils across Orkney are today, Tuesday, receiving their results from the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Students who signed up for the SQA’s text or email results service should have received their results between 8am and 9am, today, with results on paper delivered by first class post throughout the day.

OIC has praised the hard work of the county’s teachers, explaining that grades have been based principally on estimates by teachers.

Teachers had to rank candidates, say what grade they expected a candidate would have achieved and place them in a particular band for each grade. The SQA then checked and validated the information received. According to the council, moderations to the results, up or down, have been made by the SQA, if necessary, to ensure consistency across schools and colleges and consistency with results from previous years.

Councillor Gwenda Shearer, chairwoman of OIC education, leisure and housing committee said that all had stepped up to the challenges set before them during these unprecedented times.

“Never before have the exams been cancelled, so it has been a steep learning curve for all involved and we must acknowledge the efforts of our teaching staff here in Orkney in making these difficult decisions — it is not easy when you know you are playing a part in determining the onward learning journey of students.

“But teachers and lecturers are best placed to have a strong understanding of how their learners have performed and, based on their experience and the evidence available, what a learner would be expected to achieve in each course. I am confident all our staff will have made their best overall judgements based on their experience, knowledge and activity throughout the school year – fairness to students was vital in these truly exceptional circumstances, but teachers had to ensure a true reflection of a candidate’s ability.

“I wish to offer my congratulations to all those who received results today, for their commitment to their studies, and thank their families, teachers and lecturers and the wider school and college community who supported them.

“Today is a day for all pupils and adult learners across Orkney to celebrate their many achievements and successes, after many months and years of study. We are pleased that the overall pass rate across Orkney’s schools remains strong at 83 per cent – the same as last year’s pass rate.

“When schools and college staff return from the summer holiday detailed analysis of the results will take place, subject by subject, enabling the Council to evaluate trends, build on success and establish where any improvements may be needed.

“We remain committed to assist in whatever way we can in helping all students move forward into positive destinations.”

Kirkwall Grammar School head teacher, Don Hawkins, expressed his pride a the quality and amount of work carried out by staff to ensure the best possible outcomes for the young people of KGS.

He said: “This can also be a time of incredible pressure for our young people and for some this will be a period of extreme anxiety, especially if their grades don’t match up to their expectations or hopes.

“My message to all young people is that there is no one pathway.  No one’s journey will be exactly what they hoped for.  Congratulations on your success and if the results are not what you had wished, pick yourself up and try again.  As someone once said ‘there is no disgrace in being knocked down, there is only shame in not getting back up; never quit!’.

“Your parents and teachers will be there to provide you with the support and guidance you need to adapt the plan your pathway going forward.”

Orkney schools and other local organisations are on hand to help pupils who are concerned about their exam results, or who just want some advice on what to do next. More information and a full list of Orkney contacts on https://www.orcadian.co.uk/help-at-hand-for-pupils-receiving-sqa-results/