Exam results: Thousands of pupils discover their grades

This year's results based on teacher estimates after exams were cancelled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

No exams: Results are being delivered today. Getty Images
No exams: Results are being delivered today.

Thousands of school pupils have begun to receive their National, Higher and Advanced Higher results.

This year’s grades have been based on teacher estimates moderated by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) after exams were cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Teachers have based their estimates on preliminary exams and coursework, while the SQA has taken into consideration the previous performance of the school.

Around 138,000 pupils across the country have been waiting anxiously to receive their grades – their stress amplified further by the great uncertainty caused by the ongoing pandemic.


First Minister Nicola Sturgeon sent her best wishes to those receiving their results.

She posted on Twitter on Monday night: “Thinking of all the young people across Scotland waiting for results tomorrow. The last few months have been so tough for you, so whatever tomorrow brings, well done! And remember, there are always options open to you. Good luck to you all.”

The SQA says it will publish the methodology it used to moderate grades when it releases the results.

At the same time it says it will publish its Equality Impact Assessment, which is used to ensure there is no discrimination against vulnerable people.


The office of the Children and Young People’s Commissioner Scotland (CYPS) says the SQA has not carried out a Children’s Rights Impact Assessment to understand which groups are at risk.

The CYPCS undertook its own assessment of the decision to cancel exams and found several children’s rights may been negatively affected.

It is now calling on the SQA to ensure the appeals and complaints processes are fair, transparent and directly accessible to young people.

“The appeals process must be fair, transparent and equipped to deal with potentially thousands of cases in the coming days.”

Jamie Greene MSP, Shadow Cabinet Secretary for Education

Scottish Conservative MSP Jamie Greene, the shadow cabinet secretary for education, called for assurances over the readiness of the appeals process.

He said: “Whilst we supported the decision in March to close schools and cancel exams, there are still many unanswered questions over the specific methodology the SQA is using to awards these grades and how national averages impact that process.

“The appeals process must be fair, transparent and equipped to deal with potentially thousands of cases in the coming days, to help minimise disruption for the many students hoping to attend college and university in September.”

Children’s rights campaigners are demanding new measures to ensure pupils are not disadvantaged by the grading process for this year’s exams. 

The campaigners are urging the SQA to give young people direct access to the appeals process rather than having to go through their school or college. 

They claim there has been a lack of transparency and communication with young people as to how their grades will be decided as well as the appeals process.


Scottish Labour education spokesperson Iain Gray also accused the SQA of “dodging scrutiny” by “refusing to tell us the disparity between state and independent school appeals rates last year”. 

He said: “Given the disparity has been so large in previous years, it is astonishing that the SQA does not routinely compare these figures. 

“Tomorrow’s results have been widely predicted to lead to an enormous number of appeals – but the SQA’s continued shroud of secrecy will make it more difficult to accurately assess the SNP Government’s shambolic handling of education, as well as the impact of Covid-19.”

The Scottish Government has said a bill to incorporate the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child into Scots law would be delivered within this parliamentary session.

It added a children’s rights approach is being embedded into its response to Covid-19 and its approach to recovery and renewal.

“Fairness to all learners, while maintaining the integrity and credibility of our qualifications system, has been our core principle. 

Spokesman for the Scottish Qualifications Authority

An SQA spokesman said: “Fairness to all learners, while maintaining the integrity and credibility of our qualifications system, has been our core principle. 

“A Children’s Rights and Wellbeing Impact Assessment, as well as an Equalities Impact Assessment, will be published on Results Day tomorrow (today). 

“On 19 June we published detailed guidance and information for schools and colleges to help them prepare for appeals. It is the same every year that an appeal is made by the school or college with the candidate’s permission, and this year should be no different.”

Some homes ‘without power for a week’ after Storm Arwen

Engineers have been working to restore power.

SSEN via PA Media
Arwen: Some homes 'without power for a week'.

Some homes left without power following the “catastrophic damage” caused by Storm Arwen last week may not be reconnected until Friday, an electricity company has said.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) has reconnected more than 120,000 customers since Friday’s storm, but 6500 remained without power on Wednesday.

Graeme Keddie, of SSEN, said the main villages have been reconnected but that for “localised faults” power is not expected to be restored until Friday.

He apologised to any customers affected and said the company is doing all it can to restore power “as quickly as possible”.


Mr Keddie said the storm had caused “devastation on parts of the network”, particularly in Aberdeenshire, where 4000 customers remain without power.

He told BBC Good Morning Scotland: “It’s a dynamic situation, we’ve got a better picture than we had yesterday and the day before.

“We’ve got all of the main villages connected; it’s now looking at the rural areas. We’re confident that we have a handle on the situation in terms of what we can restore in the next couple of days.

“We’re looking to make really good progress today and tomorrow and we expect it will be the last final few homes on Friday, and we want to be clear those are our expectations.”


He added: “For those localised faults, those faults that are serving a home or a group of homes, we are looking into Friday for restoration.”

SSEN said it will reimburse all reasonable accommodation costs for any customer unable to make alternative arrangements.

Customers unable to access the company’s welfare facilities for free hot food and drinks can also claim the cost of takeaways or meals from local establishments, up to £15 per person.

SSEN managing director Chris Burchell said: “The impact of Storm Arwen has caused catastrophic damage to the electricity network across the north-east of Scotland and is the most significant event we have ever had to deal with in the area in a generation.

“I would like to thank our customers who have shown great resilience, patience and understanding since the impact of Storm Arwen, and we fully recognise that urgency of the situation for those who continue to remain off supply.

“I would like to personally apologise to all customers who have been impacted and would like to reassure everyone still off supply that our teams are working extremely hard to reconnect them as soon as possible.”

Murder investigation launched after discovery of teenage girl’s body

Amber Gibson, 16, went missing in Hamilton on Friday night.

Police Scotland
Police Scotland can confirm that the body of a young female found near to Cadzow Glen, Hamilton, has been formally identified as 16-year-old Amber Gibson.

The death of a missing 16-year-old girl is being treated as murder after her body was discovered in a wooded area in South Lanarkshire.

Amber Gibson, also known as Amber Niven, disappeared in Hamilton shortly before 10pm on Friday.

She had last been seen on Cadzow Street, after leaving her home in the Hillhouse area around 9.15pm that night.

On Sunday morning, at around 10.10am, emergency services were alerted to a body near to Cadzow Glen.


On Monday, Police Scotland confirmed the formal identification of the body and said the death was being treated as unexplained.

But on Tuesday night, officers announced the launch of a murder investigation into the killing.

They have appealed to the public for help discovering what happened to Amber.

Detective superintendent Raymond Brown, from Police Scotland Major Investigations Team West, said: “Our thoughts very much remain with Amber’s loved ones and we will continue to support them through this terrible time.


“Whilst our enquiries continue, we are asking for anyone with any information on what happened to Amber, or anyone who believes they saw her at any point of her movements between Friday and Sunday, to please come forward.”

Chief inspector Briony Daye, Local Area Commander, said: “I’d like to reassure the local community that this is believed to be an isolated incident and there is not any risk to other members of the public.

“There will continue to be an increased police presence in the area over the coming days and anyone with concerns can speak with local officers at any time.”

Anyone with information can call police on 101, quoting incident 1281 of November 28. Alternatively, you can contact Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111, to remain anonymous.

More on:

Scottish rugby international Siobhan Cattigan dies aged 26

Scottish Rugby extended its sincere condolences to her family and friends.

Ross MacDonald/SNS Group via SNS Group
The Stirling County back row won 19 caps for Scotland between 2018 and 2021.

Scotland rugby international Siobhan Cattigan has died at the age of 26.

The Stirling County back row won 19 caps for Scotland between 2018 and 2021.

In a statement, Scottish Rugby said it was “deeply saddened” by the news, and extended sincere condolences to her family and friends.

They wrote: “The thoughts of all our people and players go out to Siobhan’s family and many teammates at Stirling County and Scotland at this incredibly difficult time.


“Specialist Scottish Rugby employees are now providing on-going support to those most closely affected.”

Cattigan started all three matches of the 2021 Women’s Six Nations tournament, playing at number eight against England, Italy and Wales.

She was also involved with Scotland’s Rugby World Cup 2021 Europe Qualifiers squad, where she came off the bench in Scotland’s win over Spain.

Cattigan also studied Criminology and Sociology at the University of Stirling before going on to receive a Master’s degree in sports psychology.


In a statement by Stirling County, Cattigan was praised as an inspiration and described as being central to the development of women’s rugby within the club.

“Shibby has been a big part of County for many years and will be hugely missed by everyone at the club,” they wrote.

“She was central to the development of women’s rugby within the club & an inspiration to the girls in the youth section.

Shibby was a teammate & friend & we deeply mourn her loss.  Our love,  thoughts & heartfelt condolences are with Shibby’s family at this devastating time. 

“We very much hope their privacy will be respected by everyone as they deal with their tragic loss.”

All over-18s to be offered Covid booster jabs before February

Scottish Government confirms over-18s will be eligible for a third dose of Covid-19 vaccine three months after their second.

Yui Mok/PA via PA Media
Scottish Government says booster doses should be offered to all adults in Scotland before February.

All adults should be offered a coronavirus booster vaccination by the end of January, the Scottish Government has announced.

Scotland follows the rest of the UK in confirming that over-18s will be eligible for a third dose of a Covid-19 vaccine three months after their second.

The UK-wide Joint Committee on Vaccination and Immunisation (JCVI) has advised that a third dose will help increase adults’ protection levels following the emergence of the new Omicron variant.

A total of nine cases of Omicron have been discovered in Scotland – all linked to a single, private event on November 20 – although First Minister Nicola Sturgeon warned of the possibility of “many more” people being infected.


Confirming the plan to follow the JCVI advice to offer boosters to all eligible over-18s, a Scottish Government spokesman said: “Scotland already has the highest vaccination rate of all UK nations for first, second and third doses. The winter vaccination programme has already delivered more than 1.6 million booster doses to the most vulnerable groups.

“We are aiming to offer the booster vaccine to everyone aged 18 or older who is eligible by the end of January, in line with the JCVI’s advice, and we will confirm our approach to deployment very soon.

“We will continue to do all that we can to make sure people in Scotland are offered the greatest possible protection from vaccination, as quickly as we can.”

According to the JCVI guidance, the booster doses should be given no sooner than three months after a person’s second dose of an original vaccine – halving the time previously recommended.


Young people aged 12 to 15 should be offered a second dose of the Pfizer/BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine, no sooner than 12 weeks after their first dose.

More than 850 jobs to be created at SSE distribution arm

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks Distribution aims to boost investment in northern Scotland and central southern England by about a third.

Peter Byrne via PA Media
Investment: Jobs to be created at SSE distribution arm.

Energy giant SSE has unveiled plans to create more than 850 jobs in its distribution business as part of proposals to ramp up investment to £4bn and cut its carbon footprint.

Scottish and Southern Electricity Networks (SSEN) Distribution, which is owned by SSE, aims to boost its investment by around a third in the north of Scotland and central southern England for the next price control period between 2023 and 2028.

It said the extra investment will be delivered without increasing customer energy bills.

It comes as part of the wider SSE group’s aims to invest £12.5bn over the five years and accelerate its net-zero plans.


The move will see SSE become the biggest constructor of offshore wind in the world and will increase the amount of renewable energy produced by four gigawatts (GW) over the period.

SSE will deliver a quarter of the UK’s 40GW offshore wind target by 2030 and more than a fifth of the UK’s electricity networks investment.

Under the SSEN business plan, which has been submitted to regulator Ofgem for approval, the division aims to cut its carbon footprint by 35%.

It also plans to facilitate the connection of 1.3 million electric vehicles and 800,000 heat pumps on its network.


SSE chief executive Alistair Phillips-Davies said: “Collectively, SSE is investing nearly £7m each day, enabling over 20% of the upcoming UK electricity networks investment, the delivery of over 25% of the UK’s 40GW offshore wind target and so much more to help the UK and other governments decarbonise.

“With the UK committing to an accelerated net-zero timeline ahead of COP26, this is where the rubber hits the road and we see huge growth in our distribution business as it brings net zero to the front door.”

SSE has resisted calls from activist investor Elliott Investment Management for a break-up, instead focusing on its green spending drive funded by a dividend cut and asset sales.

It is set to sell a 25% stake in SSEN Distribution, as well as SSEN Transmission, likely to be early in 2023-24.

Medics angry ahead of debate on safety at Glasgow hospital

Senior clinicians have written to the First Minister and Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care about ‘unfounded criticism’.

Jane Barlow via PA Media
Queen Elizabeth University Hospital: Medics angry ahead of debate.

A group of senior clinicians at Queen Elizabeth University Hospital (QEUH) in Glasgow have complained about “unfounded criticism” of clinical teams and staff.

In a letter to First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon and the Cabinet Secretary for Health and Social Care, Humza Yousaf, 23 senior clinicians “…have expressed their immense frustration”.

The clinicians wrote: “As NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde clinicians and clinical leaders, we write to express our immense disappointment and frustration about the way in which our hospitals, our colleagues and the treatment of our patients is being portrayed in the press and the chamber of the Scottish Parliament.”

They add: “We are particularly disappointed that individual patients are being discussed in Parliament without the knowledge of the families concerned, causing untold distress to families already grieving the loss of their loved one.


“Our staff across NHS Greater Glasgow and Clyde, including the Queen Elizabeth University Hospital campus, provide professional, dedicated care to their patients and as we prepare for a challenging winter, this sustained criticism of our staff is undoubtedly causing them distress and worry.

“This unfounded criticism of our clinical teams and staff as well as the safety of our hospitals, is also hugely detrimental to staff morale at a time when so much is being asked of them.”

The letter comes ahead of Labour leader Anas Sarwar calling for Sturgeon to “finally do the right thing and sack the leadership at Glasgow’s Queen Elizabeth University Hospital”.

Labour claim photographs of mould, recently discovered at QEUH, and published in an academic paper expose the risks of water in seeding infection inside hospitals.


Labour’s opposition business motion focuses on patient safety, and calls on the Scottish Parliament to withdraw its confidence in the leadership of Greater Glasgow & Clyde Heath board.

The vote comes after families and clinicians came forward to speak out about a series of deaths at the flagship hospital spanning the last five years.

Sarwar said that repeated pleas from the loved ones of those who have died from preventable hospital-acquired infection have been ignored.

Stags snapped ‘fighting for supremacy’ in shadow of Highlands mountain

They were spotted in the Highlands last month.

Connor McLaren via SWNS
The male deer were snapped locking antlers on a moorland below Buachaille Etive Mòr in Glen Etive.

Two young stags were spotted ‘fighting for supremacy’ during rutting season in the shadow of a Highlands mountain.

The male deer were snapped locking antlers on a moorland below Buachaille Etive Mòr in Glen Etive, in the Highlands last month.

Rutting is when stags fight each other with their antlers to decide who has the right to mate with female deer.

Wildlife enthusiast Connor McLaren, 26, travelled from his home in Perth, Perth and Kinross, to see if he could spot any deer.


He said the smaller of the two was ‘dominating the fight’ but did not know who won in the end after watching for around 40 minutes.

Connor, who works as a digital marketer for Porsche, said: “I was out taking photos and I knew there are sometimes deer in that area.

“I went down and had a look for them and got lucky. The stags fight for supremacy for a mate.

“Those two deer were fighting so they have the right to mate.


“I don’t know if it was because he had the high ground but the smaller one seemed to be dominating the fight.”

Connor continued: “There was no victor by the time I left – they were still going at it. I watched them for around 40 minutes.

“They’d fight for a bit, then they’d stop then start again. They were both quite young though, so I don’t know if either of them would win overall.

“You’d expect one of the more mature stags is probably going to win.”

Which street in Scotland has the slowest broadband?

Although more people have access to superfast speeds than ever before, many are suffering from slow connections, according to a survey.

skynesher via IStock
The Banchory street is among five across Scotland with average speeds of less than 1Mbps.

Grant Road in Banchory, Aberdeenshire, is the slowest street for broadband in Scotland, according to research by comparison site Uswitch.com.

The street clocked an average download speed of just 0.28Mbps, which means it would take more than 41 hours to download a two-hour HD film.

In contrast, the fastest street in the country – Murrayfield Terrace in Bannockburn, Stirling – had average speeds of 665Mbps, meaning that the same two-hour film could be downloaded in just 62 seconds.

The Banchory street is among five across Scotland with average speeds of less than 1Mbps.


The village of Berriedal, Earlish in Portree, Rolland Avenue in East Wemyss, and Houstoun Gardens in Uphall, make up the top five slowest streets.

Portlethen in Erskine, Duncan Drive in Elgin, Bunloit village, a caravan park in St Andrews, and East Park Street in Huntly complete the top ten slowest streets with none reaching above an average of 1.69Mbps.

The UK average broadband speed is 79.1Mbps, according to the figures.

Dalhousie Crescent in Dalkeith is the second fastest street on the list, hitting an average of 576Mbps, followed by Raith Drive in Cumbernauld, Harmong Street in Bonnyrigg, and Abbotsford Avenue in Hamilton – all of which clocked speeds above 470Mbps.


The list of the top ten fastest streets is completed by Ruchill Street in Glasgow, Skylands Rise in Hamilton, Tower Place in Edinburgh, Paterson Drive in Dumfries and Galashiels Avenue in Chapelhall – recording average speeds of 311Mbps or higher.

Uswitch said the number of users getting faster broadband speeds is growing, with 43% of those in the UK experiencing superfast internet connections of more than 30Mbps – almost double the number six years ago.

But the comparison site urged frustrated consumers to check what speeds they are getting and see whether faster broadband is available.

“It’s great to witness the increased uptake of ultrafast broadband, but we don’t want to see large swathes of the country left behind on shoddy connections that aren’t cutting it for modern life,” said Ernest Doku, a broadband expert at Uswitch.com.

“Initiatives like the Universal Service Obligation and Project Gigabit are helping improve connections at both ends of the spectrum, but there is a lot more to be done so consumers don’t get left behind.”

An Ofcom spokesperson said: “This survey highlights an important point: if people are getting low broadband speeds, it isn’t usually because fast connections are not available.

“Crewe is actually well covered by superfast broadband – including Wistaston Road. So we always recommend speaking to your provider to check you’re on the fastest connection and the best deal.”

Scotland lose 8-0 to Spain in women’s World Cup qualifier

Recently crowned Ballon d'Or winner Alexia Putellas was on the score sheet as the Spanish side thrashed the Scots.

Ross MacDonald via SNS Group
Disappointing night: Losa watched his side lose 8-0 in Spain.

Scotland have lost 8-0 to Spain in a qualifying match for the women’s World Cup.

Recently crowned Ballon d’Or winner Alexia Putellas was on the score sheet as the Spanish side thrashed the Scots in Sevilla.

The defeat leaves Pedro Martinez Losa’s side five points behind the victors in the race to reach Australia and New Zealand in 2023.

Amaiur Sarriegi put the hosts 1-0 up in the 20th minute and they raced into a three goal lead by half-time after goals from Caldenteney and Bonmati.


Sarriegi made it four on the 58th minute before Bonmati scored again just after the hour mark.

Barcelona star Putellas, who was named the best player in Europe on Monday, then made it six on the 64th minute as Spain completed a six minute spell that produced three goals.

Goals from Hermoso and Gonzalez put the final touches on what was a tough night for Scotland.

Losa’s women remain in second place in the group, four points ahead of Hungary and six ahead of Ukraine, with Spain at the top and Faroe Islands at the bottom with 0 points.

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