Caithness Map :: Links to Site Map Great value Unlimited Broadband from an award winning provider  


Education improvement in Highland exceeds national trends

4th August 2020

Photograph of Education improvement in Highland exceeds national trends

The improving trend of attainment is continuing in Highland as demonstrated by the SQA results published today.

Attainment in Highland schools has risen against all key indicators and improvement is also around 2% above national levels of improvement.

Improvement in Nat 5 is 3.7% compared with national average improvement of 2.9%; Higher results showed a 6.2% improvement in comparison to national improvement of 4.1%; and 7.5% improvement at Advanced Higher in comparison to a 5.4% improvement across Scotland.

Across Highland, 49.5% of S4 students achieved five or more National 5 awards (up from 46.2% in 2019), and 22.2% of S5 students achieved 5 or more Highers (up from 21.9% in 2019). In S6, 38.3% of candidates achieved at least one award at Advanced Higher, up 1.2% on 2019. These figures show an improvement from last year and across a five-year trend.

In terms of literacy and numeracy there were also improvements in the figures. Before taking into account pupils who achieved freestanding units, 70.6% of S4 pupils achieved Level 5 literacy, an increase of 4% on the four-year average, and 60.4% of S5 pupils achieved Level 6 numeracy, up by 9.6% on the four-year average. In numeracy, 41.7% of S4 pupils achieved Level 5 (up 1.6% on the four-year average) and 28.1% of S5 pupils achieved Level 6 (up 3.5% on the four-year average).

Overall, 95.4% of S4 National 5 entries led to an award, up from 93.5% in 2019. 95.4% of S5 Higher entries led to an award, up from 93.1% in 2019. In S6, 93.7% of all Advanced Higher entries led to an award, up from 86.3% in 2019. 33% of entries across all levels led to an award at "A", compared to 30% in 2019.

Councillor John Finlayson, Strategic Chair of the Highland Council Education Committee, said, "These are outstanding results and everyone involved should be extremely proud of what has been achieved. To show an improvement across the board and indeed, a higher level of improvement in Highland than across the national average, should be a cause for celebration across the Council. These results are a credit to all our schools and young people and highlight a positive story in terms of education improvement all across Highland.

"Our school staff have worked extremely hard in what has been a difficult year and we appreciate that effort. I am especially pleased with the drop in the number of No Awards across the Senior Phase and I would like to commend the hard work of our young people and the support of their families that has led to these positive figures. We look forward to our schools returning next week so that our improvement journey in Highland schools can continue."

Chief Executive Officer of Highland Council, Donna Manson, whose specialist background is in Education said: “I am delighted to see the vision which the council has set out for improvement in education coming through, as demonstrated in across all key measures. This shows that the approach being taken is bearing fruit, embedding different ways of working excellent with collaboration across all school staff. We are on track for very real improvement across education as a whole in Highland which translates into greater opportunities for all our children and young people. We have shown what excellent progress can be made and we will continue to work on education recovery and improvement in tandem."

Nicky Grant, Head of Education, said: “After what has been a highly unusual year, it has been an anxious time as candidates, families and schools have waited for the SQA results to be published. We are very grateful for all of the hard work that our learners and staff put in during the 2019/20 session, and despite the difficulties that we faced following the school closures in March, we are pleased to see an improving trend in our results particularly amongst our Scottish Attainment Challenge Schools. It is very satisfying to see these marked improvements. Once our college results are added in , the picture will be even more positive. We are also very grateful to the SQA for putting in place a free appeals service for those situations where the final grade awarded is lower than teacher estimates. We believe that when the appeals have been considered we will see further improvements to our percentages.”

Ms Grant praised the way schools have worked to improve attainment. She said, “We have established attainment meetings with all of our schools, where Head Teachers outlined their plans for diversifying their curriculum and shared their targets for improved attainment and how they aimed to achieve them. Curriculum design and rationale remains a key focus for development in Highland with further opportunities being developed through the Highland Senior Phase strategy paper. This supports collaborative working across schools, local Colleges, Highland Virtual Academy, Skills Development Scotland and our local Developing the Young Workforce partners. Discussion has also taken place with school SQA coordinators around wider accreditation which strengthens senior phase pathways in and beyond school. Some of this work had to be paused during lockdown but we are looking forward to returning to it, which we are confident will lead to further improvements in attainment next session.”

Any young person who is disappointed with their results should contact their school for advice about whether or not an appeal will be possible. Similarly, any young person looking for advice about their next steps should contact their school directly. Skills Development Scotland also has a dedicated helpline on .


Related Businesses


Related Articles

Councillors commend carbon reduction measures being achieved in Highland
Highland Councillors have commended the Council's ongoing efforts to reduce carbon consumption over the past year.   Members have welcomed the information that the Council has saved over 6,000 tonnes of carbon this year.  
Virtual Education In Highland - Supportive, Interactive, EngagingThumbnail for article : Virtual Education In Highland - Supportive, Interactive, Engaging
Virtual education in Highland - Supportive, Interactive, Engaging.   The Highland Council can support and deliver education to any pupils who are asked to self-isolate by the Health Protection Team, in all of our 203 schools across the region.  
School Access For Highland Highlife Offers Support To Young PeopleThumbnail for article : School Access For Highland Highlife Offers Support To Young People
Young people at school are the winners as a result of discussions between High Life Highland and The Highland Council that will see the Charity's staff phased back into schools after the October break.   Speaking about the arrangement, High Life Highland Chairman, Ian Ross said, "I am delighted that once again our partnership working arrangements with colleagues in The Highland Council mean that High Life Highland staff will be able to recommence their work with young people during the school day and within school buildings.  
Highland Council Calls On UK Government To Use Its Powers To Help Reduce Fuel PovertyThumbnail for article : Highland Council Calls On UK Government To Use Its Powers To Help Reduce Fuel Poverty
The Highland Council is calling on the UK Government to help resolve the inequity of fuel poverty experienced in the Highlands of Scotland where people pay more for fuel and energy than other regions in the UK.   Leader of The Highland Council, Cllr Margaret Davidson has written to the UK Government's Minister of State (Minister for Business, Energy and Clean Growth) The Rt Hon Kwasi Kwarteng MP calling on the government to replace the current electricity distribution system with one that replicates that of gas and telecoms and share the cost of energy distribution equally across the UK.  
Highland Council to Support Climate Week 2020
To mark Scotland's Climate Week for 2020, which runs from today until the 20th September, The Highland Council has organised a range of virtual events to share information and seek views from Highland residents and Council employees on climate related topics.   Whilst the circumstances for Climate Week 2020 are very different to previous years, it still provides an important opportunity for organisations and communities to celebrate and showcase what they are doing to tackle climate change.  
Highland Council Trading Standards warns of hoax lottery scam mailings
Highland residents are being warned that letters claiming they have won a share of £425,000 in a ‘postcode lottery' is a scam.   The letters appear to be targeting the Skye area but are likely to be sent to various addresses across the Highland area.  
Highland Council Appoints Interim Executive Chief Officer - Health And Social Care
Fiona Malcolm, has been appointed by The Highland Council as Interim Executive Chief Officer with immediate effect for Health and Social Care, pending recruitment of the permanent ECO post which is currently taking place.   A qualified solicitor, Fiona has worked within the legislative and policy frameworks in place for both children's care and adult social care since joining The Highland Council in 2001.  
Highland Councillors agree proposed distribution of Crown Estates revenue funding
Communities in The Highland Council area are to benefit from Crown Estates funding to be disbursed by the local authority.   Councillors have agreed a funding distribution model to enable the disbursement of over £3million Crown Estates funds across the region.  
Council agrees urgent motion calling for local Covid-19 information sharing
Council today agreed an urgent motion by Cllrs Margaret Davidson, Andrew Jarvie, Alasdair Christie and Jimmy Gray with a call for more detailed local information sharing on Covid-19 for members in local government.   The motion is as follows: "Throughout the pandemic we have received information on national and Highland wide numbers infected with Covid 19.  
Highland Council Confirms Council House Building Targets Will Be Met Despite Covid-19 Lockdown
At the meeting on 9 September 2020 of the Council's Housing and Property Committee, Officers confirmed that house building targets will be met despite lockdown caused by the Covid-19 pandemic.   Chair of the committee, Cllr Ben Thompson, said: "I am delighted that we are able to continue to meet our targets for the Council house building programme.