SQA exams: Glasgow schools to offer study sessions over Easter

Schools across Glasgow will offer supported study sessions over the Easter holidays to young people sitting SQA exams for the first time since 2019.

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Education bosses at the city council are now urging young people to “trust in their schools and teachers” who have been working hard over the last decade to reduce the attainment gap.

It comes as the SQA released their guidance on its exam diet including support materials for internal assessment and the way exams will be graded.

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During Thursday’s full council meeting Labour councillor Aileen McKenzie asked the education convener councillor Chris Cunningham what reassurances he could provide for senior pupils sitting exams in May.

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SNP Councillor Cunningham said: “This year sees the return of traditional exams for secondary pupils for the first time since 2019.

“In the normal sequence of things none of these young people will have had any experience of SQA exams before so I entirely understand why the pupils may find the prospect daunting.

“The SQA has provided a range of advice and guidance for this exam diet, from guidance and support materials for internal assessment through to dealing with exceptional circumstances and appeals and on the way in which exams will be graded.

“The guidance has generally been welcomed by the teaching profession and the wider education sector.

“Education services have also worked closely with headteachers to ensure a range of study support is available for pupils. Schools have been offering after school study support, Saturday morning classes and will offer a range of study support during the Easter break.

“There is understandable anxiety about the number of pupil and staff absences since August leaving some pupils and staff feeling they haven’t had enough time to cover everything to the depth they would want to.

“The fact is that the SQA has had a poor pandemic. Watching the grading process in the first year and then the issue of teacher assessment in terms of work load and burden in the second year.”

Councillor Cunningham then went on to give reassurance and advice to pupils across the city.

He said: “Trust in your schools and the advice they give you. Over the last 10 years your schools and teachers have worked with your fellow pupils to better results such that the future destinations of Glasgow’s young people are now better than they have ever been and for the first time ever – higher than the average for the whole of Scotland.”

Councillor McKenzie echoed the convenor’s words on how hard our schools and pupils have worked before asking what steps, if any he would take to close the poverty attainment gap.

Councillor Cunningham responded: “Closing the poverty related attainment gap has been a key objective for the Scottish Government and for this council and if you look at our exam results and attainment levels over not just the last five years but for more than 10 years, we have been working very hard to achieve that goal.

“It would be my desire and wish to see that work continue in the next term so that our young people can go into the world with confidence with the results they need to achieve in their future.”