School leavers with university places dependent on Higher grades are particularly nervous their results could fall short, according to a youth leader.
Some 138,000 fourth, fifth and sixth year pupils across Scotland whose Higher, Advanced Higher and National exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic will learn their grades on Tuesday.
Breath will be held as text messages, emails and envelopes containing the results are opened in households across the country, but Scottish Youth Parliament member Bailey-Lee Robb fears they could see some lose out on higher education places.
Scottish Qualifications Authority moderators have awarded grades based on teachers’ estimates and pupils’ and schools’ past performance, and Bailey-Lee is worried about warnings they may not be as anticipated.
Bailey-Lee, 18, is headed to Edinburgh University as long as he gets a B at Higher Grade but some of his friends need As in particular subjects to take up their places.
He said: “I think in the weeks leading up to this everyone thought it will be fine but now they are getting nervous. That’s certainly how I’m feeling
“Lots of us are waiting for grades for university. If you were in fifth or sixth year you have another go, but for the class of 2020 this is it.”
Lots of us are waiting for grades for university. If you were in fifth or sixth year you have another go, but for the class of 2020 this is it.”
Bailey-Lee Robb, 18
Worried that many who were denied the chance to sit their exams won’t achieve the grades they might have, he said: “This year no one has sat an exam. People who would have got straight As could walk away with Bs and Cs.
“Of course, they might have sat the exam and not made it, but they weren’t given that chance.
“Some of my friends are hanging on for one subject at a certain grade.
“If by luck they scrape through, off to university they go, but if they don’t that’s that.”
The SQA has offered a free appeals process in what it described as an “exceptional year” but Bailey-Lee fears it could struggle to cope with demand.
He said: “I would expect appeals to go up by almost 100% on last year, perhaps even more.
“If 10% of people appeal what guarantee is there they will get their new result for the start of the university term?”
Woodmill High School pupil Gregor Mitchell, 17, was anxious to receive results for his five Higher courses.
He said: “It’s the uncertainty. We haven’t had the chance to sit our exams and this might not depict how we have actually done.”
“For people who don’t do that well, it’s going to be ok.”
Gregor Mitchell, 17
However, he said teachers, who submitted estimates for pupils to the SQA, would be aware of how pupils had performed throughout the year.
As Scottish Youth Parliament member for Scouts Scotland, he also reiterated a Scouts message.
He said: “For people who don’t do that well, it’s going to be ok.
“Scouts have a message that there is no wrong path and scouting can really help people in their career.”
How to appeal
An SQA spokesman said: “We are providing a free appeals service this year.
“That means schools and colleges that have questions about a candidate’s final grade can appeal the result, if it is lower than what they estimated.
“They need to have permission from the candidate and sufficient evidence to support the initial estimate.
“Following an appeal, final grades can be increased, they can be lowered, or they can remain the same.”
Those wishing to challenge their results should contact their school or college, which will submit their appeal, as soon as possible.
The SQA says priority reviews for those who need to confirm a college or university place will be conducted by September 4, with results also sent to universities and colleges.