Praise for pupils

Angus Council’s Education convener has congratulated pupils, staff and parents on their achievements following the release of this year’s SQA results.

Councillor Sheena Welsh said: “An initial analysis of Angus results in the 2012 SQA diet reveals a pleasing overall performance which reflects the sustained hard work of pupils and the quality of the support offered in Angus schools, and from parents, to help them achieve their best.”

The results reveal a continuing upwards trend in the proportion of young people who, by the end of S4, gained five or more awards at SCQF Level 3 (equivalent to Access 3 or Foundation level at Standard Grade) continued with a rise of 1% to 94%.

“This is the best performance in this measure for at least eight years and mirrors similarly positive trends in performance in Maths and English at the same level,” commented Councillor Welsh.

More than three quarters of S4 pupils (77%) achieved five or more awards at SCQF Level 4 (equivalent to Intermediate 1 or General level at Standard Grade), in line with the average performance over the last five years.

The overall proportion achieving five or more awards at SCQF Level 5 (equivalent to Intermediate 2 or credit level at Standard Grade) is, at 33%, the same as last year. This year’s performance includes significant improvements in a small number of schools.

The proportions in Angus achieving one, three and five or more awards at Higher level (SCQF Level 6), at 44%, 23% and 10% respectively, maintain the improvements made in 2011. Although the result for three or more Highers is marginally down on last year, in the remaining two measures this year’s performance equals the best achieved since 2007.

There was even better news for S6 pupils. A small dip of 1% to 21% in the number achieving five or more Highers was offset by the increase in the number attaining one and three or more Highers.

Compared to 2011, the proportion achieving one or more Highers rose by 3% to 50%, the best performance since at least 2004. Similarly, the number attaining three or more Highers increased by 2% to 35%, the best performance since 2005.

“The performance of pupils in S6 in this year’s diet is testament to the hard work of young people in the final year of their school careers and will provide a sound foundation for their next steps, whether to further study, training or employment,” added Councillor Welsh.

“We are committed to continuous improvement in our schools, and we will build on these results to ensure our young people get the best possible experience as they make their journey through education in Angus.”

Robin Parker, President of NUS Scotland, added: “We’d like to say congratulations once again to pupils, teachers and schools across Scotland for a great performance in this year’s Highers. Hopefully, many pupils wanting to go to university have met their conditional offers and will now be looking forward to starting their studies in only a month or two.

“This year will be a very competitive year for places at university, given the economic downturn over the last few years. With youth unemployment rates at very worrying levels in Scotland we want to see universities use every ounce of discretion they have to take as many talented students as they can. For those pupils that don’t get a place, my advice would be not to panic and to talk through your options with the professionals, including SDS’ helpline.

“As we see who has been accepted by universities and who hasn’t, we must make sure that universities are doing more to achieve fair access for those from the most deprived backgrounds. Many pupils from the most deprived backgrounds are demonstrating huge potential and achieving great results despite plenty of disadvantages. However, many will still be denied a place at university this week, forced to search for limited clearing places or to put their life on hold for a year.

“As our research report Unlocking Scotland’s Potential shows, it’s too often those from the most deprived backgrounds that are being locked out of universities. We know that universities can’t do everything to achieve fair access, but they could be doing much more. Universities need to be doing everything possible to ensure they reach out to the most talented people in Scotland, regardless of background, and the Government must legislate so fairer access is on every institution’s agenda.”