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Highland pupils achieve excellent results

6th August 2019

Highland S4 pupils have recorded excellent levels of National 5 awards with 45% pupils in S5 achieving 5 National 5s - an increase of 6% since 2015 and an increase of 2.5 % compared to last year.

There has also been a significant increase (8%) in the number of passes in Higher English - 94% passed this year compared to 86% last year. Similarly there has also been an increase (5%) in the number of passes in Highland Maths - with 87% passed this year compared to 82% last year.

A dramatic decrease in the number of no awards at Higher (440 less no awards compared to last year) was also very welcoming.

A-grade awards at Higher have increased by 0.8 % and there is a 20% increase in 2019 of pupils attaining 5 A-grades compared to 2018. Overall the exam results in S5 are very strong.

Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of Highland Council's Care, Learning and Housing Committee said:"This is a fantastic result for Highland Council pupils who have attained excellent results in both National 5 and Higher courses which have been refined in recent years. The results are a real credit to the hard work of pupils, staff and the support of parents and carers. Well done to everyone for all their hard work and effort. It is super to see Highland pupils continue to achieve better results year upon year resulting in a very positive attainment trend.

"I am also very pleased that 93% of pupils received an award and that there are fewer pupils receiving no award. This is very positive as our ambition is to reach a position in which we have no pupils in a no awards situation. Well done to all and remember if you didn't get what you expected, help and advice is at hand from organisations like Skills Development Scotland on their hotline 0808 100 8000, website and social media."

Results have shown that there are more young people in the Highlands achieving A - C passes in S4 at National 5 with 8997 awards this year at National 5 compared to 8829 last year.

Nearly 350 pupils achieved 5 Higher passes with 18% of pupils in S5 achieving 5 Highers - the highest level ever achieved and an increase of 2.4 % compared to last year.

All Maths and English pass rates are significantly better this year at Higher and National 5 and the Council is very pleased to see a significant improvement in the attainment of young people from the most deprived backgrounds in 2019 compared to 2018 with:

9 % increase in Higher passes for these pupils compared to 6% for all pupils

12% increase in Higher English passes for these pupils compared to 8% for all pupils

8% increase in Higher Maths passes for these pupils compared to 4% for all pupils.

Donna Manson, Highland Council's Chief Executive said: "Analysis of our exam results are ongoing as national and comparator trend data comes through. As an ambitious Council we will be carrying out a lessons-learned-approach both in terms of what has been successful this year and what we can improve upon both at Council and school level. Initial expectation is to praise, celebrate and support pupils with their next steps.

"Help is at hand for anyone looking for advice - pupils, parents and carers can phone the Skills Development Scotland hotline on 0808 100 8000. Results information and advice is also available on Scotland's careers website My World of Work at which has practical help and links to UCAS, SAAS, Young Scot and the SQA. To get in touch with the SDS helpline via social media go to My World of Work on Facebook at or Twitter at

Tuesday release

Pupils, Parents and Carers waiting for Nat 5, Higher or Advanced Higher results tomorrow (Tuesday 6 August) are being asked by The Highland Council, ‘Are you ready for Results Day'?

Councillor John Finlayson, Chair of the Council’s Care, Learning and Housing Committee says:

"We look forward to celebrating and sharing in the achievements of our pupils’ exam results across Highland, but are acutely aware that for some they might not get what they wanted or hoped for.

“Be assured that at help is at hand, and whether you have just finished 4th, 5th or 6th year at school, there is wide range of range of advice and assistance out there to help you decide what your next steps are."

Donna Manson, Highland Council Chief Executive adds:

“As a parent and former teacher, I am acutely aware of the impact of exam results day. Whatever your text, email or envelope says from the SQA: congratulations if you get what you worked hard for; well done if you get a nice surprise; and if you don’t get what you hoped for then don’t panic; your exam results don’t define you, but what you do next could make a difference. Ask for help from the sources of information available.

“If you are going into 5th or 6thyear speak to your school Guidance Teacher about your subject choices and remember that there may be options to attend college or study through distance learning in subjects that you have not previously thought of that may be available to you.”

Skills Development Scotland also advise that: “For pupils going on to 5th and 6th year this August, there’s still time to choose a Foundation Apprenticeship alongside Nationals and Highers. To find out what’s available in your area go to (external link) or speak to an SDS careers adviser.”

Donna Manson adds: “If you have applied to go to University and are waiting on your results for a conditional offer, make sure that UCAS have your up to date contact details. Visit (external link) and check out the section on ‘Results, Confirmation and Clearing’ for all you need to know.”

A dedicated exams results helpline for pupils, parents and carers will be available from Skills Development Scotland from 8am to 8pm on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 August, and from 9am to 5pm weekdays from Thursday 8 until Wednesday 14 August. The number to call is 0808 100 8000.


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