Published 10 August 2021

West Dunbartonshire pupils celebrate record SQA results

School pupils across West Dunbartonshire are celebrating after another year of record SQA results with almost 100% of pupils achieving one or more qualification. 

This year’s examination diet for National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher was replaced by a Revised Alternative Certification Model (ACM), which relied on a rigorous process of internal teacher assessment, moderation and quality assurance within schools. 

This year 2,136 pupils were entered for qualifications with 2,110 — 99% — achieving one or more qualification and schools outperforming the national average in all levels from N3 to Higher.

Results published today highlight a record pass rate in National 5 exams with 3,980 passes (93%) out of 4,267 entries — up 9% from last year, with 96% of these students achieving one or more qualifications. The level of award received was also high  – with 72% of National 5 awards pupils receiving grades A or B.

The National 4 pass rate was maintained at the 2020 level of 93%, which represented an increase on previous years.

Higher students also achieved strong results, with a 96% pass rate up 16.3% from last year, 97% of pupils gaining one or more qualification and 76% of passes at either grade A or B.

At Advanced Higher, 95% of pupils passed, up 11% on last year’s results with 95% achieving one or more qualification and 77% of passes either grade A or B.

In addition, the percentage of passes across all levels in literacy and numeracy across West Dunbartonshire schools has risen from 82% to 93%.

Throughout the year, schools have been working in partnership with WD Leisure, Working4U, West College Scotland, Glasgow Kelvin College, Glasgow Caledonian University and Focus West programmes to offer additional routes to further education and employment. As a result, young people were presented across a range of 192 courses from National 2 to Advanced Higher in subjects ranging from ‘Accounting’ through to ‘Travel & Tourism’.

Councillor Karen Conaghan, Convener of Educational Services, said: “I would like to congratulate all of our pupils who have worked so hard and continued to achieve through one of the most challenging academic years.  It is very encouraging to see nearly 100% of pupils achieving at least one qualification and a 9% increase in National 5 exams.

“I would like to sincerely thank all of our dedicated teachers and support staff who have worked tirelessly to assist our pupils through the pandemic and all of our parents and carers who have done so much to support children. This year has been particularly difficult for pupils who have had to endure periods of home learning due to Covid and these results are a real testament to the hard work of our pupils and the fantastic staff who support them.”

Councillor Ian Dickson, Vice Convener of Educational Services, said: “These results are a great achievement and recognition for all of the effort and commitment shown by our pupils and their families. We have come through a very difficult year and it is very pleasing to see Nat 5 passes increase by 9%. It is also encouraging to see Advanced Highers increase by 11% and  literacy and numeracy increase 11% from last year.

“I want to congratulate all of our pupils on their results this year and wish them every success in the future whether they are staying on at school or moving into further or higher education, employment or training.”

Laura Mason, Chief Education Officer, said: “It is hugely encouraging to see these positive results again this year which are a reflection of all the hard work by both our pupils and all of our teaching and support staff over the year. Despite the challenges faced by our young people, they have shown amazing commitment and resilience, working hard whether in school or at home.  We are extremely proud of all of our young people and today is about celebrating all of their achievements. 

“I would like to express my sincere thanks to all our school staff, who have continued to motivate and inspire their pupils to learn and achieve despite the challenges they faced during the pandemic. Pupils can now contact their school for advice and guidance on their future educational journey.”