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Edinburgh’s Pupils Shine: Surpassing Pre-Covid Achievement Levels

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Pupil achievement levels throughout Edinburgh continue to surpass those recorded prior to the Covid pandemic, with an ongoing rise in successful completions of vocational courses, as indicated by the exam results unveiled on Tuesday, 8 August.

More than 9500 pupils in the Capital have received their results from the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA). 2023 was the second year since 2019 that pupils sat formal exams and attainment remains high in comparison. Different assessment models were used in 2020 and 2021 due to the impact of the pandemic.

Passes in National Progression Awards (NPA), vocational courses equivalent to National passes, have also increased, with 48 NPA courses leading to 941 passes at levels 4, 5 and 6. This is compared to 26 NPA courses and 296 passes in 2019.

A total of 51,941 resulted awards were certificated for 9,583 candidates (includes special schools, adults and mainstream secondary pupils) in over 85 subjects ranging from Accounting to Urdu.

National 5s saw passes (A-C grades) of 78% (up one percentage point from 2019 but down one percentage point compared to last year) and Highers saw passes of 78% (up two percentage points from 2019 though three percentage points lower than 2022).

Notable results include:

• By the end of S4, 48% achieved 5 passes at National 5 or better (5 percentage points up on 2019 but 1 percentage point down on 2022)

• By the end of S5*, 63% achieved 1 or more Higher passes or better (6 percentage points up on 2019 and the same as 2022)

• By the end of S6* 69% achieved one or more Higher passes (1 percentage point down on 2022 but 3 percentage points up on 2019)

This year I got an A and a few Bs and I was quite surprised by these results, they were very positive actually – I expected to do worse in Maths. I don’t feel that stressed about the way exams are done though, I don’t mind being in a big hall.

Pupil Vincent Rodziewicz, who is about to start S6 at Craigmount High School

I was really nervous, but I think my results are good – I wasn’t really expecting straight As. It will give me a lot of confidence going into S5 as well, because I know it’s going to be a difficult year.

Zaneta, who is an S5 pupil at Craigmount

The Covid pandemic may seem like a distant memory for some, but recent years have posed a real challenge for pupils and teaching staff in all our schools who have had to deal with the impact on learning and teaching.

All our teachers and staff have worked extremely hard in preparing pupils for these exams, as well as parents/carers whose support is invaluable and, most of all, our young people themselves should be praised for their hard work and achievements.

We want to make sure all school pupils are able to fulfil their potential by attaining the highest level of achievements possible and by receiving the best possible experience – every learner’s journey is unique. We look forward to building on the success of this year’s learners as they move through the senior phase and onto positive destinations.

Councillor Joan Griffiths, Education Convener for the City of Edinburgh Council

Additional information – analysis

Results by the end of S4
5 passes at National 5 or better – 48% (1 percentage point down on 2022 but 5 percentage points up on 2019)

Results by the end of S5*
1+ pass at Higher or better – 63% (same as 2022 but 6 percentage points up on 2019)
3+ passes at Higher or better – 44% (same as 2022 but 6 percentage points up on 2019)
5+ passes at Higher or better – 24% (same as 2022 but 4 percentage points up on 2019).

Results by the end of S6*
1+ pass at Higher or better – 69% (1 percentage point down on 2022 but 3 percentage points up on 2019)
3+ passes Higher or better – 51% (2 percentage points down on 2022 but 2 percentage points up on 2019)
5+ passes at Higher or better – 38% (2 percentage points down on 2022 but 2 percentage points up on 2019)
1+ pass at Advanced Higher – 31% (1 percentage point down on 2022 but 4 percentage points up on 2019)

*based on the percentage of S4 pupil roll.

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