Scotland’s exams: ‘I’m over the moon… and so are all my pals’

Lauren Steele, 16, from East Kilbride was sitting at home nervously watching the television when she heard the education secretary read her name out in parliament.

"I didn't expect to hear that at all," she said. "It was kind of funny to be honest. My phone started going straight away".

Lauren was one of the pupils who wrote to John Swinney criticising the Scottish Qualifications Authority's (SQA) moderation of this year's results.

Like many across Scotland, she had been downgraded by the national exam body and received lower grades that she had been predicted to achieve by teachers.

However, today Mr Swinney mentioned her and several other young people who had influenced his decision to accept teacher estimates of scores.

The move affects about 75,000 Scottish pupils who will now have their marks upgraded following the government u-turn.

'Something needed to be done'

As for Lauren, she said her family were proud of her no matter what exam results she received, but said she was "really glad and grateful" about the decision.

She had been predicted to get a B in Higher French by her teachers but was instead awarded a C by the SQA. She said she wrote the letter to John Swinney because "the hard work of some pupils was being ignored".

She joked that her family were shocked by her decision to contact the education secretary, saying it was out of character for her to get involved. Lauren said it was the right decision to intervene, however.

"Everyone is just so relieved. I think a lot of people thought 'There's no point making a stand, the government won't do anything'.

"I was one of the few people who did think we need to do something. I just felt that something needed to be done.

"If it wasn't for the online petitions, the letters, the emails then this wouldn't have happened. I'm feeling so much better now".

'I'm over the moon'

In Motherwell, Alex Robertson was worried that his 16-year-old son Luke had been disadvantaged because he couldn't sit his exams during the pandemic.

Mr Robertson said he felt like Luke's grades had suffered unfairly and that he was worried about the appeals process going forward.

Luke had been predicted to achieve mostly As but received a mixed bag of As, Bs and Cs on results day.

But after today's announcement, Mr Robertson said he was delighted that the role of the teacher would be recognised in deciding his son's grades.

"Luke was sitting watching the TV and the smile just spread across his face," Mr Robertson said.

"That was the kind of reaction I was hoping for when he opened his envelope last week. The right thing has been done.

"It's a mixed bag of emotions. I'm happy but we shouldn't have been here in the first place. It's taken a week but we got there," he added.

As for Luke, he welcomed the news that his grades would be based on his teacher's original estimates.

"I'm over the moon," he said. "My pals are all really happy too. I can look at the courses I want to do now.

"It gives me more options and it means this year there is not as mucRead More – Source

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