Across Scotland young people received news of their SQA results today Tuesday 6th August.  I want to use this blog for 2 purposes; to say thank you to those who helped prepare our pupils for today, to give families a broad indication of how the school got on. Other items on the website indicate who to contact if you have any questions/concerns about the results.

Thank you: Preparations for SQA exams involves a great many people all who deserve to be acknowledged.  The pupils, their families and their teachers will have shown the keenest interest in the results which are a measure of performance against a National Standard.  Thinking back over the year there are also numerous non teaching staff who have contributed to the coursework and the exams running smoothly.  Amongst these are our pupil support assistants, technicians, office staff, janitors, librarian, canteen staff and cleaners.  We also had a team of invigilators who ensured pupils were calm on the day and the exams ran smoothly.  Some of our pupils also benefit from the support of a counsellor, a youth worker, a home school worker and a careers adviser all who help individual pupils to develop the confidence, resilience and sense of purpose needed to complete coursework or sit an examination.  A key person who links between the school and SQA is Laura Murray our School Support Services Manager her co-ordination of everything needed to run the exams and ensure all of the information is submitted on time is crucial.  All of these people and more deserve a massive thank you for ensuring that the pupils at Harlaw Academy were well prepared for their SQA exams and were able to receive their exam results earlier today.

How the school got on:  We will not have a full analysis of the data until later this month.  Indeed it will not be until mid/late September until we get detailed analysis in relation to National data.  However, we have had a brief look at the headline figures for Harlaw.  In broad terms our National 5 (level 5) results are a good bit better than 2018 and our Higher (level 6) results are also better than the 2018 results for Harlaw Academy – the actual figures for Harlaw Academy are shown here SQA results summary 2019 .  We have been working hard for a few years to increase expectations of all pupils and to bring in alternative courses to better meet the needs of all pupils.  It can however take time for the hard work to produce results and as a result I had hoped we would see modest improvement in some measures this session.  To see improvement across all the main measures and such big improvement in level 5 is really encouraging.

I wish to close with 3 general points about the day the SQA results come out:

  • The news today tends to focus on National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher results.  In truth there are a range of other qualifications our pupils are presented for which did not make the news today but are every bit as important.  These are often not assessed by a formal examination (National 3 and 4, National Progression Awards and some college courses and apprenticeships) but are set at a level which in some cases is equivalent to these.  We need pupils, parents and employers to recognise the value of these courses many of which have strong vocational element which suits the talents of some youngsters more than traditional academic subject.
  • Over the years we have got much better at predicting the results pupils will achieve.  As a result fewer pupils are surprised by the results on the day.  Some individuals will be disappointed with their results and I encourage them to come back and try to improve or to speak with us about moving on to a different pathway where they can find success.  Some may be pleasantly surprised and again I encourage them to speak with us about how this might change the pathway they were thinking of following in August.
  • Whatever the results which came out today the 2019 SQA exams are over.  For all of us what matters is how we move on.  For the youngsters who chose to return to school we will be looking to continue to improve and build on the success of 2019.  For those who decide to move on we urge you to set yourself ambitious goals for whatever you decide to do next.  Finally for anyone who is still not sure what to do next please get in contact with ourselves of Skills Development Scotland.  We are here to help you to be the best you can be.