04 Aug Scottish Highers and GCSEs: What to do if you don’t get the exam results you need | UK News
Teenagers in Scotland will get the results of their Highers today, the first set of qualifications decided by teachers rather than by sitting exams because of the coronavirus pandemic.
What does it all mean for students if they don’t achieve what they need?
More than 130,000 young people across Scotland are receiving the results for their Nationals, Highers, Advanced Highers, and a whole series of other courses, certificates, and awards.
Those that don’t get the grades they want have a number of options.
This year, in light of the coronavirus pandemic, if you’re on a National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher course, you can make a free appeal if your grade is lower than the estimate grade issued by your school, college or training provider in May.
It must demonstrate you were performing at the level of your estimate grade.
All appeals must be made by the school. So if you’re unhappy, the first step is to speak to them.
The school must make sure you understand the process and the three possible outcomes and appeals are signed off by a head teacher, principal or their representative.
You may be awarded a higher grade or your grade may stay the same.
It’s also possible you may receive a lower grade, but the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has said this will be rare and the outcome will be discussed with the school.
The work assessed can include classwork, prelims, past papers or class tests.
Your school, college or training provider will discuss this with you and must have your consent before appealing
Once the authority receives this evidence from your school or college, a senior examiner will review the evidence along with any other evidence it already holds, such as unmarked coursework submitted before the exams were cancelled.
Based on the evidence available, the SQA examiner will decide if your grade should be changed.
The appeals process opens 4 August and those wishing to confirm a college or university place will be informed of the outcome by 14 August.
For all other appeals, students will be informed by 21 August.
For priority reviews, decisions will be sent to university/college by 4 September. For post-certification reviews, the date is to be confirmed.
The traditional path to get into university if you don’t get the grades you need for the course you want is open as usual.
Clearing is how universities and colleges fill places they still have. UCAS is the place to start and, as ever, the advice is to be quick and decisive with whatever you choose to do as places go fast.
In light of the economic impact of coronavirus, the programme in England is being expanded. There will be 30,000 new places and employers will be given £1,000 for each work experience placement they offer to people aged 16-24.
England’s scheme will involve £111m of government funding, while similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland will receive £21m.
Traineeships provide work preparation training, the chance to improve literacy and numeracy skills and the work experience you need to get an apprenticeship or other job. They last from six weeks to six months.
Just as job numbers have suffered during the pandemic, so have apprenticeships, with the number of starts declining sharply.
But they remain a great chance to work while learning across many industries. There are no student fees – your training costs are funded by the government and your employer.
Entry-level jobs have been hit since the pandemic began for both school-leavers and graduates. But going straight into work is still an option.
Students can appeal their GCSE grades if they believe the process this summer was not followed correctly in their case.
Students who wish to do so must speak to their school or college first.
Exam centres can also appeal if they feel something systemic has gone wrong across their results.
Students have the chance to sit the exams again in the autumn or next summer and if they choose to do this, learners will be able to use the higher of the two grades for future progression.
The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (ofqual) says it expects that “any mistakes will be quickly found and corrected”.
The National Careers Service Exam Results Helpline offers advice each year for students who have not received the results they had hoped for.
The Department for Education’s helpline is also available to students and their parents or carers to talk about the appeals process and any other questions they may have about their results this summer.
There is no option to appeal if students feel they would have done better by sitting an exam, as, ofqual believes, no one is better placed than a student’s teachers to judge their likely grade if exams had taken place.