The anxious wait was finally over for pupils in Moray on Tuesday when they received the results that would dictate their future hopes and aspirations.
A slight drop in the overall pass rate throughout Scotland did not stop a record number of pupils being awarded highers – while in Moray Forres Academy pupils were celebrating the loudest with the school accounting for 30% of pupils who gained five ‘A’ passes.
For the first time this year standard grades were replaced by new National 5 exams – with Moray Council saying that 48 pupils in the region achieved the maximum six ‘A’ grade passes.
All Moray’s secondary schools had offered six National 5 subjects with the exception of Elgin High School where pupils studied for five with a sixth as an option.
Laurence Findlay, head of schools and curriculum development at the local authority, was one of the first to congratulate Moray pupils for their “attitude and commitment to learning”.
He said: “The authority is also fully appreciative of the hard work of our staff in the first year of the new S4 national qualifications. They have embraced change and ensured that our young people were fully prepared as well as coping with major staffing issues in most schools and departments.”
Labour’s education spokesman at the local authority had words of comfort for pupils who may not have achieved the results they had hoped for.
Councillor Sean Morton said: “Pupils across Moray are to be congratulated for their hard-work and effort over the last year and for their dedication through the exam period. Many pupils will be overjoyed at getting the results they worked so hard for.
“Of course, not everyone will have been as happy when they opened their results this morning, falling short of what they were hoping for.
“They need not be discouraged, there are many paths to success and there are plenty of people around to give them advice on their next steps.
“I know what it’s like to be disappointed by exam results – but you dust yourself down and with the help of family and friends and by seeking advice you can press on and still achieve your goals.
“We should also thank the parents who have helped throughout the year and of course all the teachers who have worked so hard under difficult circumstances.
Councillor Morton also called for an inquiry into the new Highers, adding: “I hope that we have an inquiry into the way the new Highers were implemented as soon as possible.
“It is disappointing that SNP MSPs want to delay that until after the referendum – I hope they change their mind and look into it so things run more smoothly for teachers and pupils in the coming year.”