Highest pass rate in five years for Aberdeenshire students

Aberdeenshire’s overall exam pass rate in 2011 has again increased, to its highest level for the past five years across nearly all levels, initial analysis shows.

Last Thursday, around 6,900 pupils across Aberdeenshire recieved their exam certificates showing their achievements in SQA qualifications.

There will be joy with 78 of them, in S5, will be tearing open the envelopes to find they have achieved straight A passes in five or more Highers. This is the highest number since 2006.

There were around 34,200 entries from 17 academies and four special schools across Aberdeenshire, for courses and units at levels from Access two to Advanced Higher, in over 60 different subjects.

There were 1.6% fewer entries this year than in 2010, thought to be due to a reduction in school rolls.

The number of course entries per pupil at each stage was largely unchanged, apart from at S3, where it was slightly down, and S5, where it was slightly up.

• The overall pass rate at Intermediate one (79%) is up 2% and at Intermediate two (82%) it is up 3%, compared with last year

• The overall pass rate at Advanced Higher level is up 2% to 80%

• The overall pass rate at Higher level is up 1% to 76%

• The overall pass rate at Standard Grade at SCQF Levels three and four remained at the same levels as last year (99% and 90% respectively).

The SCQF Level 5 (Credit Level) pass rate was down slightly, by 1% to 50%.

Chairman of Aberdeenshire Council’s Education, Learning and Leisure Committee, Cllr Richard Stroud, said: “The certificates being issued recognise the progress in learning and achievements by young people in Aberdeenshire throughout their school career.

“In this, they have been supported by friends, parents and carers, as well as by the professionalism and dedication of teaching and support staff in schools.

“The qualifications being celebrated mean that most young people in Aberdeenshire are well placed to move on to the next phase of their education, whether that involves another year at school, or moving on to Higher or Further education, to a training place, or directly into the world of work.”

The most recent figures show that 91% of Aberdeenshire school leavers build effectively on their achievements in school to move on to one of these types of positive destination.

Vice-chair, Cllr Isobel Davidson, added: “In Aberdeenshire, publication of the exam results marks the start of a process of detailed analysis and discussion of the results, in schools and in the authority, to identify trends in performance, areas of strength and areas where improvements need to be made.

“The aim will be to ensure that the young people of Aberdeenshire continue to benefit from learning experiences, as part of a developing curriculum, fit for the 21st century, which will enable them to fulfil their potential in school, in Further and Higher education, in training and in their future careers and lives.

“It is very encouraging to see the improvements in pass rates, which continue to demonstrate the high levels of achievement in national qualifications in Aberdeenshire.”

For a second successive year, disruption to schools caused by severe winter weather failed to impact on exams success in Aberdeenshire.

Prolonged and heavy winter weather saw dozens of schools across Aberdeenshire closed to staff and pupils late last year and early into 2011, and in the previous year.

Staff, pupils and parents rallied to ensure that those studying for exams would not be overly-affected by the lost school days, with a range of strategies put in place to provide support.