All National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher qualifications achieved in 2020 will be determined by the SQA based upon information provided by schools and colleges, collection of which completed on 1 June 2020.
The SQA has provided detailed information about the process here. If you have not already read this, and you are either a pupil or have a child affected, please do read it. It includes details about how to appeal, ie, through the school or college involved. More news will appear here.
Despite persistent rumours to the opposite, the SQA has declared that there will not be an additional diet of exams in the Autumn of 2020.
If pupils wish to retake any qualifications then they have only 2 options:
either sit SQA qualifications in Summer 2021; or,
switch to an international or English examiner offering iGCSE (or other qualifications) through a private provider or other educational establishment – although this is unlikely to be a viable option for most given both the cost and likely coursework requirements.
Further Education providers (colleges, universities) and most employers are well aware of the situation and are having to adjust their entry requirements for 2020, and that includes updates to the UCAS process.
For pupils looking to go on to university or college in 2020 and 2021, you are advised to consider the entire UK offering and not limit yourself to Scottish institutions. Although attending a university elsewhere in the UK will incur tuition fee costs, it is highly likely that you will be offered a much wider range of courses and options, so do consider these carefully.
There is also significant concern that the Scottish Government imposed cap on places for Scottish applicants to Scottish institutions will be a major issue this year. Last year 14,200 Scottish students (30% of applicants according to press reports quoting UCAS) were not offered study places in Scotland because of this cap.
The UK Government has just announced that there will be a one-year cap on the number of students from England that Scottish, Welsh and NI Institutions can admit in 2020, to prevent too much “poaching” of English students by universities elsewhere in the UK.
Scotland already has about three times as many students from England (about 27,000) as Scotland sends to England (about 9000), and Scottish Universities have become very dependent upon the high fees paid by overseas students – many of whom will not now be coming due to COVID-19, leaving English students as the most likely alternative source of recruits. Measures to prevent the imbalance increasing further have therefore been put in place.
It is impossible at this stage to predict what the situation will be in summer 2021 and how exams will be administered. We can only hope that the Scottish Government and SQA will work with schools and colleges to be ready for all contingencies, including the worst case of inability to conduct exams.