EAST Lothian’s education chief has moved to reassure pupils and parents that grades awarded in place of this year’s cancelled exams will “accurately reflect” the achievements of young people.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) has revealed how it aims to determine the 2020 exam results for students due to sit them, following the suspension of normal examinations due to Covid-19.

And Lesley Brown, the council’s chief operating officer for education, said schools were prepared to provide the evidence needed and review the results using their professional judgement.

She said: “We know that the closure of schools and the cancellation of exams has caused anxiety and uncertainty for our pupils and their families. I’m pleased that the SQA has now confirmed its approach, and I am especially pleased to see recognition that teachers and schools are best-placed to provide a judgement on pupils’ achievements.

“Our schools regularly monitor and track pupils’ progress throughout the academic year as part of our approaches to ensuring high-quality learning, teaching and assessment. Teachers’ professional judgement is at the heart of our approach in Scotland and our teachers are very well placed to provide the information required by SQA.

“We are working with our headteachers and school teams to make sure that our approach across East Lothian is consistent, rigorous and accurately reflects pupils’ achievements. Our teachers will estimate grades using all evidence available to them, with support from their subject faculties, wider school teams and from our central education team.”

The SQA says its approach to awarding grades is based on safe and secure certification following public health advice and maintaining the integrity and credibility of the qualifications system.

Schools and colleges will be asked to provide the SQA with estimates on pupils’ achievements, grades, bands and rank based on their performance so far in subject activities.

This will provide an overall judgement from those the SQA describes as “best placed” to do so, with submissions due by May 29.

The SQA will then check and validate the estimates it receives and look at prior assessments undertaken by pupils if they are available – for example, Higher results for an Advanced Higher pupil.

The schools’ previous history in estimating attainment will be considered and SQA will hold Awarding Meetings with its subject experts.

Results will be delivered to learners by August 4 and students are encouraged to register for MySQA to receive their results by text and/or email.

The appeals process will remain free for schools and colleges so they can advocate on their pupils’ behalf if the results do not reflect the candidate’s achievements.

The SQA has an exams Q&A for parents and pupils on its website, www.sqa.org.uk