SQA celebrates Results Day with care-experienced candidates

Celebrating candidates were joined by John Swinney at the SQA Results Day Celebration - scroll down for a video from the event

For the third year running, SQA, in partnership with Who Cares? Scotland, has arranged a Results Day celebration, for care-experienced young people to share their experience of finding out their results for the National courses, and awards that they have completed over the past year.

Results Day is an exciting, if somewhat nerve-wracking, time for many thousands of young people across Scotland.

As they anxiously await the arrival of their results envelop, or increasingly the alert from a text or email dropping into an in-box; candidates often turn to friends and family for support, guidance, and sometimes just a little reassurance.

However for many young people, particularly those from a care-experienced background, Results Day can be a challenging time, especially if there is no one to celebrate or commiserate with, or seek advice from.

At the SQA event, care-experienced candidates brought friends, teachers, and carers along with them to share in the excitement and celebrate together. There was an opportunity to hear first-hand from Who Cares? Scotland alumni, who gave inspirational talks about their lives and experiences, during, and after they’d left care.

To round-off the celebrations, all the candidates were presented with their Scottish Qualifications Certificates by John Swinney MSP, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills.

SQA Chairman, Graham Houston, said: “It’s been a real privilege to share this day with such inspiring young people. This celebration recognises the hard work the candidates have put in to achieve their qualifications. On behalf of the SQA Board I would like to congratulate them on their well-deserved achievements.”

After presenting the young people with their certificates, Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education and Skills, John Swinney said: "‎Exam results day is all about celebrating the success of our young people ‎and I was particularly honoured and delighted to present certificates to some of Scotland's remarkable young people who come from care experienced backgrounds.

"I understand that significant days like today can be a nervous and a difficult time for young people and I think it’s important that we all come together to offer our congratulations, support and encouragements to those young people who may need it most. It’s vital that we share all of our learning stories in the hope that it will further our aspirations. 

"It is well understood that growing up in care can bring some very real challenges and therefore to achieve results in exams can be that little bit extra special.  

"I am very proud of all of Scotland’s young people for their achievements today.  They’ve done us all proud. More importantly though – they should be proud too.  

"I applaud the teams from Who Cares? and from SQA who have pulled together this very special celebration event, which demonstrates the real and serious responsibility of being a corporate parent in Scotland."

Dr Janet Brown, SQA Chief Executive and Scotland’s Chief Examining Officer said: “Results Day is obviously one of the high-points of our our year, but it is an extra pleasure to take part in events like this. I am delighted to once again see the positive impact SQA qualifications have had, and how SQA staff have embraced the responsibilities of being active corporate parents to many young people across the country.”

Duncan Dunlop, Chief Executive of Who Cares? Scotland said: "This is Corporate Parenting in action. By putting on this event, SQA has stepped up to its responsibilities to care experienced people. Our members see this event as a sign that despite their backgrounds, there is still a hope and expectation that they will achieve.

"Care experienced young people face some of the worst educational outcomes in Scotland. This event, and the achievements of the young people in attendance, show that this doesn't have to be the case. The root and branch review of care, established by the First Minister, is under way. We are hopeful that it will be a way towards a Scotland where all care experienced people succeed and are championed. SQA has shown today that this is possible.”

As part of the Children and Young People (Scotland) Act 2014, the Scottish Government named SQA and 23 other public bodies as "Corporate Parents" to young people in care. This meant a duty was placed on them to listen to the needs and wishes of children and young people in care, and for them to be proactive in their collective efforts to address these.

Who Cares? Scotland is a national voluntary organisation, which provides a range of advocacy, advice and support services across Scotland for children and young people with experience of care up to the age of 25. Who Cares? Scotland is commissioned by the Scottish Government to provide training for National Corporate Parents.