Renfrewshire Council

SQA Awards: a letter to parents and carers from Steven Quinn 2 April 2020

The following is a letter to parents and carers from Steven Quinn, Director of Children's Services. It is dated 2 April 2020 and outlines the SQA awards process during the Coronavirus outbreak.

Dear Parent / Carer

You are now aware that the exam diet for this year has been cancelled. This has, understandably, brought a great deal of uncertainty and anxiety for everyone involved and especially for our young people who have been working towards the end point of completing units, coursework and sitting their exams.

Today, the examination body, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has issued a statement outlining the next steps in how they will work with schools to deliver the qualifications that all of our young people deserve having worked tirelessly towards these in the last year in particular and for the years leading up to this.

A very helpful step is the extension given for teachers and schools to finalise decisions on determining estimated grades. This will give everyone an opportunity for detailed discussions within departments and with senior leaders in schools for each pupil and for each subject.

Teachers have worked with pupils for a significant period of time and have a wealth of evidence to draw on, in order to make an accurate professional judgement of what they are capable of achieving. For each pupil and in each subject, teachers will be able to draw on evidence such as their prelim performance; assignments and coursework; classwork; homework; and class tests and assessments. In addition, and very importantly, teachers will also draw on their experience of how a pupil progresses throughout the year and especially leading up to exams based on standard of work already completed.

This analysis will allow teachers, departments and schools to arrive at an estimated grade which best reflects the work and the progress your child has made and therefore makes a best estimate of how they might have performed in the completed coursework or folio and final exam.

To further support teachers and departments across schools, we will make available any further additional resources or support required to help teachers, so that all are able to use all relevant information available to make the best and most accurate estimated grade possible.

The estimated grades submitted to SQA will then allow them to use this information along with, where available, prior attainment to develop a model that will deliver a final grade for certification in August.

The SQA have also committed to further support through the post results service.  I would hope by this time we may be able to return to schools which will allow the gathering of evidence to support any appeal, if necessary.

While I accept that this whole process is very different to the normal exam diet, I am confident that by working in close partnership with SQA, the hard work of Renfrewshire's young people can be properly recognised and accredited.

We are absolutely focussed and determined to get this right for our young people.

I hope this message along with the SQA statement can at least address some of the uncertainty and anxiety that everyone is feeling just now.

Finally, can I thank you for your continued support, patience and trust and wish you good health in the weeks and months ahead.

Yours sincerely

Steven Quinn signature


Steven Quinn