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By Bob Doris MSP

Update 11th August 2020

As you will know by now, the Education Secutary John Swinney offered an apology to Scotland’s pupils who had been awarded certificated grades which were lower than teacher estimates. This was due to a system of moderation applied by the SQA. Mr Swinney will now use his powers of direction as a Scottish Minister to ensure that every pupil in that situation will now have their teacher estimates upheld and certificates will be re-issued accordingly.

A summary of what was announced by the Cabinet Secretary can be found here:

The above also provides a link to the full parliamentary statement.

As you know, I had significant concerns as to whether the appeals process would deliver for pupils that were impacted. I wrote to both John Swinney and the SQA on this very matter on 7 August 2020 (see below). I am pleased therefore that there will now be no need to appeal in these circumstances. I was also pleased to get assurances that the Scottish Government will also fund additional College and University places to ensure pupils secure appropriate courses. The Scottish Government also announced two reviews to learn from this entire experience.

I asked the Cabinet Secretary a question during his statement on that very matter. It refers to the ‘waterfall’ effect, which can more generally suppress grades. Details of my question and John Swinney’s response can be found at:

My thanks to everyone who has contacted me on these matters. I wish every young person, whether staying on at school or moving into new educational opportunity, training or work, my best wishes for their future.


7th August 2020

Following the announcement of the SQA results on Tuesday 4th of August, I am urging any young person who has not secured the grades they hoped for and who wishes to appeal to contact their school as soon as possible. For those young people who are uncertain as to what work or career options may be open to then following the SQA results, I’d also urge them to get in contact with Skills Development Scotland 0808 100 8000.

Furthermore whilst the pass rate across the country may be up, for instance by 4.6% for young people from the most deprived areas (SIMD bottom 20%), there are several very understandable concerns that circumstances of individual student or subject departments within schools have not been fully considered by the SQA methodology. It is vital these concerns are addressed within the appeals process. I have spoken to all the secondary school head teachers in our constituency to offer my support for them as schools will now be making use of the free appeals process.

Of course concerns have been raised directly with me and I have written to both Fiona Robertson the SQA Chief Executive regarding these concerns, as well as the Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney MSP.

You can view both these letters below.

Best wishes,



Copies of letters:-



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