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Thursday, 10 August, 2000, 09:00 GMT 10:00 UK
Brown letter day for pupils
Highers graphic
A mixed start for the new exams system
Did you receive all your results or were some missing? E-mail us to tell us your story.


Thousands of Scottish pupils are receiving exam results which will dictate their futures.

However, for some the wait is being extended after the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) admitted that problems in processing the results will lead to a delay.

Telephone hotlines have been set up for all pupils, with advice also available to about 1,000 pupils who are expected to receive incomplete results.

Ailsa Wright
Ailsa Wright pores over her results
Some hopefuls face a wait into next week before knowing if they will be accepted into university.

Among those who did receive her complete results was 17-year-old Ailsa Wright, a fifth-year pupil at Milne's High in Fochabers.

Holding the envelope nervously, she said she wanted B grades or better to go to university after doing a sixth year then taking a year out.

When the big moment came, she was overjoyed: "I got Bs - four Bs. That's magic. That means I can get in."

Her mother Irene said: "We're delighted for her. If she's got what she needs that's wonderful."

Government inquiry

SQA chief executive Ron Tuck said his organisation would co-operate fully with a government inquiry into the problem.

However, he told BBC Radio Scotland that efforts had already begun to prevent a repeat of the problem. "I can guarantee it won't happen again next year."

He attributed this year's delays to the implementation of a new IT system and administration procedures.


This is a life event for individuals and we have to try and get it right

Education minister Sam Galbraith
In the Borders there are reports that almost half the students at Selkirk High school who were expecting results had not received them by mid-morning on Thurdsday.

This year sees the introduction of a new system of qualifications for more than 140,000 candidates.

Alongside the existing Highers, there are new grades at intermediate and access levels.

New subjects have also been introduced to link the classroom with the workplace and include civil engineering and philosophy.

'Not a fiasco'

Scottish Education Minister Sam Galbraith has asked independent consultants who were already working within the SQA to investigate how the delayed results came about.

Mr Galbraith stressed that, while the proportion affected was expected to be small, any number was unacceptable. He also accepted responsibility for the problem.

He said: "It's certainly not a fiasco but there will certainly be some pupils whose results will be incomplete.

Sam Galbraith
Sam Galbraith: Accepts responsibility
"It's a small number but I'm very concerned about that. My view is even if it's small, even one's too many.

"This is a life event for individuals and we have to try and get it right."

Mr Galbraith promised that no-one would lose a university place as a result.

The SQA admitted on Tuesday that there had been a delay in posting some key information to university admissions service Ucas.

It should have received details of Higher passes on Monday, but now expects to have them on Thursday.

Ucas passes the results on to colleges and universities in advance so that they can deal with a flood of enquiries after students find out their results.

The Scottish National Party described the exams delay as unacceptable and accused Labour of "treating Scottish pupils as guinea pigs" for new education policies.

Anyone wanting information from the Scottish Qualifications Authority can ring 0141 242 2160 or contact the SQA by e-mail.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Emma Simpson
"The computer system has been plagued by problems"
Education correspondent Ken Macdonald with one pupil
"This is it - tear open that envelope!"

Key stories:

Highers analysis:

TALKING POINT

AUDIO VIDEO
See also:

09 Aug 00 | Scotland
09 Aug 00 | Scotland
25 May 00 | UK Education
16 May 00 | Scotland
Internet links:


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