Results day for Scotland's young people

Another successful year with increased attainment in work-related qualifications.

Scotland’s young people have recorded another highly successful set of results for this year’s SQA qualifications with the second highest number of Higher passes on record, despite a fall in the size of the year-groups involved.

There was also a welcome increase in Higher-level qualifications gained in relation to wider skills for life and work, confirming that efforts to expand vocational education are having an impact.

There has been a fall in the number of school students this year. Despite this, Scotland’s students achieved 152,701 Higher passes, only the second time the number of passes has exceeded 150,000 and an increase of more than 40,000 since 2006.

Importantly, there have been significant increases in the number of students taking and passing qualifications related to wider life and work skills, with attainment of National Certificates at SCQF level 6 – each of which attracts the same number of credit points as three Highers – up by 23% to 4,920.

The figures also reveal that total attainment for Awards, National Certificates and National Progression Awards – in courses such as early education and childcare, computer games development, and leadership – is up by 27% this year, to more than 43,000.

This increase demonstrates welcome progress in the Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce programme, broadening the educational opportunities available to Scotland’s young people to help give them the best chance of future success.

Deputy First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Education, John Swinney said:

“This has been another successful year for Scotland’s young people and I would like to congratulate them on all their hard work and achievement. Receiving results can be a nerve-wracking time and everyone who has received positive results today can be extremely proud of their efforts.

“Today’s results show that Scotland’s learners continue to perform very well, with the second highest number of Higher passes on record, despite a fall in the size of the S5 and S6 year groups. This year is only the second time in history that we have seen more than 150,000 Higher passes, up from around 112,000 just ten years ago.

“The results also demonstrate the changing nature of Scotland’s education system, as it responds to the challenge set by the Developing the Young Workforce programme. That approach seeks to prepare our young people better to enter the world of work by offering them much more choice and flexibility in their education path than traditional qualifications alone.

“It is encouraging therefore to see strong performances in qualifications related to wider skills for life and work and I greatly welcome the increase of attainment in Awards, National Certificates and National Progression Awards.”

Notes to editors

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) has a free helpline offering advice, information and support for young people and their parents which will be open from 8am to 8pm on 9 and 10 August and from 9am to 5pm until 17 August. The number to call is 0808 100 8000

Students can also get help locally for details of local centre locations and opening hours, visit

Post-results information for pupils and parents is available on SDS’s My World of Work web service.

Students can also access help, advice and support via UCAS, SAAS, Young Scot and the SQA.


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