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EDITIONS
Tuesday, 14 August, 2001, 13:50 GMT 14:50 UK
Candidates consider their future
Education Minister Jack McConnell
Jack McConnell realised pupils were anxious
Pupils across Scotland have been considering their next moves after this year's exam results appeared to arrive on time and complete.

The wait for the 2001 exam results was an anxious one for more than one reason.

The anticipation of getting the grades that can shape a successful future was combined with a hope that confidence in the exams system could be restored after last year's fiasco.

Pupils at one Scottish school seemed well satisfied with the results delivered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA).

Exams certificate
Certificates arrived on time and complete
Like many of her friends at Coatbridge High School in North Lanarkshire, Lesley-Ann Johnston was up early waiting for the brown envelope to fall through the letterbox.

When the postman handed her the results she was amazed to find she had done better than expected.

"I thought I'd get four As and a B," she said.

"But it was five straight As."

Worried

The result ended weeks of worry.

"I was anxious because of all the problems with the SQA which I'd seen on TV and in the papers. It made me dead nervous," Lesley-Ann said.

Now the path is clear for 17-year-old Lesley-Ann to fulfil her ambition to teach, English or Maths.

Also delighted was fellow pupil Jennifer Hay, who is a fourth former.

Relaxed

But she had a more relaxed perspective.

"I wasn't really worried about the results because I thought the SQA would go to great lengths this year to improve them."

"Last year my brother had problems and so did some of his friends."

Like Lesley-Ann, Jennifer did better than expected, achieving seven grade 1s and a grade 2 at Standard level.

She said friends she has compared results with were also satisfied customers.

Pupils outside school
Pupils were relieved that another fiasco was avoided
"They all did better than expected, and everyone got their results on time."

Politicians and union leaders also welcomed the successful delivery of the exam results.

Ronnie Smith, general secretary of Scotland's largest teaching union the EIS, said that people should have confidence in the results.

Education Minister Jack McConnell said: "The wait for results this year was a particularly anxious one given last year's problems.

'No margin of doubt'

"However, young people across Scotland put those doubts aside and concentrated on their studies."

Last year, an estimated 17,000 pupils received late or incorrect results.

Mr Smith said: "I think teachers will now be more familiar with the new system, I think pupils will indeed have been working hard to make sure there was no margin of doubt this year.

"And, of course, with the multi-level system, pupils are increasingly sitting at the right level.

"The one thing I feel confident about is the integrity of this year's results.

"The SQA, I am sure, will have been ultra cautious with the marking and standards.

EIS leader Ronnie Smith
Ronnie Smith: 'SQA will have been ultra-cautious'
"I think this is probably the year in which people can have the greatest ever confidence in SQA results."

First Minister Henry McLeish said: "I always said that the executive could not allow a repeat of last year's events and would do everything possible to ensure that it did not happen again.

"It appears that normal service has been resumed.

"I would like to thank all those who worked incredibly hard over the past year to make this happen."

Liberal Democrat education spokesman Ian Jenkins said: "I am delighted the SQA have delivered.

SQA 'congratulated'

"Last year's problems appear to have been rectified, and indeed those problems may have given students an added incentive to be doubly sure they did the work for this years exams.

"Successful students are to be congratulated, they have done very well and deserve to feel pleased with themselves.

"I congratulate Bill Morton and his team who have responded effectively in a hugely pressured situation.

"Ministers, too, deserve credit for making resources available and maintaining scrutiny over an operation where success was vital for the reputation of Scotland's exam system."


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Changes imposed

Last year's problems

Background:

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Go to BBC Student EssentialsExam results?
Essential advice and information for students
See also:

14 Aug 01 | Scotland
13 Aug 01 | Scotland
12 Aug 01 | Scotland
10 Aug 01 | Scotland
09 Aug 01 | UK Education
21 May 01 | UK Education
14 Aug 01 | Talking Point
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