Edinburgh school disruption - Update for parents and carers

Monday 09 May 2016

Our main concern is for all the young people involved and to ensure that they get the recognition of their best efforts, while still maintaining the national standard of the qualifications.

We are working closely with City of Edinburgh Council and the individual schools to support them in the practical arrangements for the exams, which begin on Wednesday 4 May.

The national timetable of exams will go ahead as planned and pupils should continue with their studies and be ready to sit their exams on the dates in the published exam timetable.

Here are some questions and answers, which we hope you will find helpful:

1) What happens if my child has been unable to complete the coursework which goes towards their final grade or has been unable to complete their units?

In agreement with the council and the affected schools, practical exams and performances have been rescheduled, to give time for the young people to settle into their new school environment.

We have extended the timelines for submitting the other types of coursework that count towards the final grade (such as portfolios, assignments or projects) and the unit assessments that are marked by the school.

This gives schools time to retrieve the work from the original school buildings and for candidates to complete any outstanding work on their coursework and units. At this time of year, most candidates should have already completed or be finalising their coursework and units and it is in their best interests to complete them, as it allows them to show the coursework that they intended to submit to SQA for assessment.

Rescheduling of practical exams and extensions to submission dates are part of our established processes for managing such circumstances.

2) How are you ensuring that work is being retrieved from the original school building?

The local authority and the schools are working to secure all of the candidates' coursework and unit results.

3) What should I do if I think my child has not performed as expected in an exam for one of their subjects?

SQA’s Results Services is made up of two services - Exceptional Circumstances and Post Results Service.

The Exceptional Circumstances service supports individual candidates who are taking subjects that include a timetabled exam that is marked by SQA.

The service is only available before the results are published and can only be made for the SQA marked exam part of the qualification. The service does not cover the SQA marked coursework or the units of the qualification.

The service is only for individuals who know in advance that due to personal exceptional circumstances, such as bereavement or illness, they will be unable to sit a specific timetabled exam, or whose performance may have been fundamentally affected as a result of an incident beyond their control, for example illness. The service cannot be used for groups of candidates nor for individual candidates who believe they may not have performed well on the day of the exam. Exam stress, minor distraction and loss of concentration are not considered valid exceptional circumstance reasons.

If you feel that the disruption has impacted on your child’s performance in a specific exam then you should speak to your school, to explain why you think that is the case.

If the school agrees with you, then they can submit an exceptional circumstances request, which must be made within 10 working days of each exam. We will then look at the candidate's performance in the exam and review additional evidence submitted by the school, for example coursework, class assessments or a prelim exam.

Find out more - www.sqa.org.uk/resultsservices 

4) What happens if my child doesn't get the results they were expecting, in August?

SQA’s Results Services is made up of two services - Exceptional Circumstances and Post Results Service.

The Post Results Service runs after candidates have received their certificates in August.

If a school is concerned by a candidate's result, they can request a clerical check and/or a marking review of all of the candidate's work that has been submitted to SQA for marking. Requests can only be made by the school, using teacher professional judgement and knowing the ability and work undertaken by their candidates in the past year.

‘Alternative evidence’ is not considered by this service. The check/review can result in the candidate's result going up or down. If the original grade remains unchanged following the check/review, the school or college will be charged for this service.

Find out more - www.sqa.org.uk/resultsservices