Supporting learners as Covid disruption continues – a message for parents and carers

As the new school term gets underway, SQA is very aware that the ongoing pandemic continues to impact on your child’s learning and teaching.

13 January 2022 - SQA - Categories: Advanced Higher, Awarding 2022 Programme, Higher, Learners, National 5, Parents

National Qualifications

We want to reassure you that we have taken this into account when developing plans to support learners as they progress through their National 5, Higher, and Advanced Higher courses and prepare for their exams in April – June.

These plans continue to be developed with our partners across the education system – including the National Parent Forum for Scotland – and will ensure that the grades awarded to your child on results day will be a fair reflection of their skills and knowledge.

Outlined below is a reminder of how National 5, Higher and Advanced Highers will be assessed in 2022 and the additional support measures in place should significant levels of disruption continue.

What has been done to address disruption to learning already faced by learners?

We have already made changes – referred to as modifications – to course assessments (exams and/or coursework) to make them more manageable and allow for lost learning and teaching caused by the pandemic.

The types of changes made to course assessments for this year included removing or reducing elements of an exam or coursework, changing the exam to provide more choice or time, or removing a topic.

What plans are in place should there continue to be disruption to learning?

We are continuing to monitor public health advice and levels of disruption across the country. The level of disruption to learning is being measured against national data such as teacher and pupil absence. If these levels of disruption continue, we will provide revision support for learners in March to ensure maximum time for learning and teaching, and to help with your child’s preparation and reduce stress in the run up to the exams.

The type of revision support depends on the modifications that were already made at the start of the session and will therefore differ across courses. For some courses, this would include advice and guidance on what topics learners should focus their revision on. We will provide more information as soon as it is available.

There is revision support currently available for learners. Education Scotland, in partnership with e-Sgoil, is running a series of Study Support Webinars for learners working towards National Qualifications in 2022. Details can be found on the e-Sgoil website and you should speak to your child’s teacher or lecturer if you require further information.

Are 2022 SQA exams going ahead?

It is still the clear intention for the 2022 SQA exams to take place in April – June. Exams will only be cancelled by the Scottish Government if public health advice restricts physical gatherings at the time of the exams.

The Scottish Government has indicated that, whilst they can’t know what the public health advice will be at the time of the exam diet, they will provide as much notice as possible.

SQA is closely monitoring the educational impact of the pandemic so that we can continue to support learners, most of whom will be sitting exams for the first time.

Can the timing of exams be changed to allow learners to catch-up on missed learning?

No. The timing of the exams cannot be moved for a range of reasons, including allowing sufficient time for marking and informing learners of their results in good time to make decisions about their next steps, for example college or university places, apprenticeships or employment.

How will my child be assessed if exams are cancelled?

If public health advice in Spring 2022 restricts physical gatherings and SQA exams are cancelled by the Scottish Government, teachers and lecturers will decide your child’s provisional results based on the assessments they have completed throughout the year. This could be a mix of prelims, practical activities, performances and class tests. Teachers and lecturers will use their professional judgement to select the assessment evidence that best shows your child’s skills, knowledge and understanding of their course.

Your child will not need to sit additional assessments.

Where can I find more information on National Qualifications in 2021-22?

Your child should have received a hard copy of our guide to National Qualifications 2021-22 booklet from their school, college or training provider, which you may also find useful.

To stay up to date, please visit and follow us on Facebook @ScottishQualificationsAuthority.

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