HERMITAGE Academy’s Higher pass rate has risen for the second year in a row, figures have revealed.

A report has shown that the percentage of Higher passes at the Helensburgh school has risen from 88.3 per cent in 2020 to 89.9 per cent. The 2020 figure was itself an improvement of over 10 per cent on 2019.

The National 4 pass rate has remained at 100 per cent, a figure which for the fifth year in a row, applies for all 10 secondary schools run by Argyll and Bute Council.

National 5 and Advanced Higher rates at Hermitage have seen small year-on-year decreases. The National 5 rate has gone from 91.3 per cent to 90.3 per cent, while the Advanced Higher figure has gone from 94.7 per cent to 93.1 per cent.

But a senior council official has insisted that nothing can be read into the different pass rates for 2021 and 2020 because the way in which grades were awarded in the two years is so different.

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As a whole, the council’s 10 secondary schools returned pass rates that were above the national average when results were released last week.

A school-by-school breakdown of results has been made available for a virtual meeting of the authority’s community services committee on Wednesday, August 25.

For the second year running, the exam diet did not take place due to the pandemic, with grades awarded based on teacher estimates and previous evidence.

Council executive director Douglas Hendry said in the report: “The council received SQA awards for all pupils entered for formal qualifications in session 2020/21 in August 2021.

“This provided comprehensive information on the outcome of the alternative certification model performance for all pupils across each of the ten Argyll and Bute secondary schools.

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“Following the cancellation of the formal SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority) examination diet due to Covid-19 schools submitted provisional results relating to each presentation and level made on behalf of each young person.

“The SQA also developed an appeals process for any young person unhappy with their provisional result(s).

“This report presents an update to elected members on both the authority and school outcomes at National 4 (pass only) and at National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher awards (A-C) and (A-D) based on provisional results as outlined above.

"The 2021 presentation pass rates at both school and authority level cannot be used for comparison with previous years' outcomes as the method of awarding grades is completely different."

The full report covering every local authority school in Argyll and Bute can be read here.

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Mr Hendry added: “Our young people have the opportunity to be presented at different levels throughout their chosen senior phase pathway.

“This means a young person can undertake subjects at different levels of qualifications e.g. two Advanced Highers, two Highers and one National 5. Therefore, the outcomes include young people across S4, S5 and S6.

“Any young person that was unhappy with their provisional results could appeal directly to the SQA on their website.

“The registration service for appeals opened on Friday, June 25 and closed on Thursday, August 12. Appeals were processed by the SQA after results day on Tuesday, August 10.”

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