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SQA Exam Results Day Sector Response

Happy people high fiving on campus

Commenting on #SQAExamResults day – Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland (@CollegesScot), said:

“I hope everyone receiving their results today is rightly proud of their qualifications. The past 18 months have been some of the most challenging times any of us can remember, and I offer my congratulations to everyone who has gained a qualification at college or school.

“Thousands of SQA qualifications are gained every year at colleges.  College staff worked incredibly hard to support students in 2020/21, in a really difficult year of learning for everyone.

“For people receiving their results today, and who are thinking about their future career options, qualifications are the gateway to taking up a college place.  College is a first choice for full- time and part time students, delivering world class education and technical skills that get people ready to join the workforce and start their careers.  The technical and “hands-on” learning which takes place at college is practical and unique, from laboratories to workshops to salons to kitchens.  The skills and experience gained through a college course are what’s needed in the Scottish economy now as it recovers from the impact of the pandemic.

“Because of the First Minister’s announcement last week on Scotland moving into Beyond Level 0 guidance, colleges are offering much more access to campuses, learning and teaching facilities, which is still in line with the guidance we all have to follow.  Colleges are safe and student welfare is always at the forefront of everything we do, with advice, careers guidance, mental health and financial support, and holistic help readily available.   We would encourage anyone who hasn’t yet decided their next steps to contact their local college for more information about starting a course in 2021 now that they have their results.” 


The National Union of Students Scotland is ‘deeply concerned’ as the attainment gap in Scotland widens and EU students accepting their places declines.

Commenting Matt Crilly, NUS Scotland President, said:

“A massive congratulations to everyone who received their results today. The strength you have shown to keep going during the hardest of circumstances is incredible. If you didn’t get the results you’d hoped for, UCAS, Skills Development Scotland and the SQA are all on hand to offer help and advice, helping you plan your next move.

“It is disheartening to see the divide between the richest and poorest students continue to widen across the nation. The pandemic has highlighted the class inequalities in Scottish education and society- it’s time to rebuild our systems to be fairer for everyone. 

“No students’ grades should be dependent on their background. Lessons must be learned by the Scottish Government recognising the hard work of students and the need for continued support in coming years.”

The UCAS figures also revealed that a there was a 56% decline in EU students accepting their places at university in Scotland.

Mr Crilly added:

“It’s deeply concerning to see the number of EU students applying to Scottish universities drop again this year. It is unsurprising given that EU students are now faced with astronomical fees to access learning in Scotland. NUS Scotland will continue to make the case to protect students from the disastrous impact of the UK government’s hard Brexit agenda.”

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