Results day for SQA assessments
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THURSO High School's depute head has spoken of the "uncharted waters" that pupils and staff faced with the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) processes this year.
There were no formal exams due to lockdown restrictions and pupils at both Wick and Thurso high schools received their results today based on assessments.
Thurso depute head Anne Nicoll issued a statement thanking staff for the "huge amount of work" that went into the revised SQA processes.
"This year pupils and staff have had to navigate uncharted waters with regard to SQA processes," she wrote.
"Although the exams did not go ahead in the usual format it remains a significant achievement for pupils to have gained the excellent results they have this year based upon the hard work that they had already put in during their time at Thurso High School.
"We have seen an improvement of around 12 per cent in the number of pupils achieving five passes at A to D at National 5 level and an improvement in the number of pupils achieving five passes A to D at Higher.
"As always we celebrate the achievement of all our pupils who have gained the grades at the level they had hoped for and worked towards, especially during this unprecedented time, and would like to congratulate each and every one on their successes."
Sebastian Sandecki, acting head teacher at Wick High School, said that the initial analysis of the SQA results shows that pupils' performance "has shown some improvement" and there were some notable "excellent individual achievements".
He said: "I would like to congratulate all our students who have achieved well in their exams.
"Our improving results reflect the hard work and dedication of our young people in their studies, in addition to the support they have received from their parents and teachers.
"We are very pleased that 13 of our S5 students have achieved five passes at Higher.
"I would like to the thank our teaching staff for the dedicated professionalism demonstrated when producing the information required by the SQA, enabling certification this year.
"The last few months have been a very challenging time for our pupils, parents and staff. Wick High School is incredibly proud of their efforts and support during lockdown and we look forward to seeing our pupils return on August 12. All schools continue to work with Highland Council to ensure the safety of our school community in the new term."
The SQA said that it "checked and validated" estimates from teachers and moderated them to "ensure consistency across schools and colleges, and with results from previous years".
It said that it analysed each school's history of estimating results and attainment and developed a maximum and minimum pass rate for each course based on the four-year average.
It also built in flexibility to account for year on year changes.
First Minister Nicola Sturgeon said she did not underestimate how “tough” the lockdown had been on those who were due to sit exams but were unable to.
She was joined by education secretary John Swinney, who commended the SQA on developing a system that allowed pupils to receive certifications based on work they had already done.
Ms Sturgeon said: “I want to say a special word to all young people across the country who are receiving their SQA results today. It is a long time since I got my results but I still remember it like it was yesterday.
“It is a really big moment and a young person's life so I hope you got what you were hoping for, but if you didn't it's really important to remember that there are lots of options open to you."