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There's going to be a review by the education service across the Western Isles after a sudden drop in the number of top passes at Advanced Higher level. 

Yesterday (Tuesday August 8) young people received the results of National Qualifications from the Scottish Qualifications Authority tests and examinations that were undertaken earlier this year.

Comhairle nan Eilean Siar said today that it "would like to recognise and congratulate the effort, commitment and achievement of all our young people following the significant number of successful qualifications and other awards confirmed by SQA."

Across National 5, Higher and Advanced Higher courses, the rate of A-C passes achieved in the Western Isles was 78.8%, from a total of 2,366 presentations at these levels.  The equivalent rate of passes across Scotland for the same awards was in the region of 77%.

CnES said: "Whilst we recognise continuing very good performance at National 5 and Higher this year that remained above the national average, a reduction in passes at Advanced Higher will be analysed by our schools and associated courses and programmes will be reviewed for 2024."

Award Level 2023

Western Isles A-C Passes

Scotland A-C Passes

National 5






Advanced Higher



Award Level 2022 Western Isles A-C Passes Scotland A-C Passes
National 5 84.5% 80.8%
Higher 84.7% 78.9%
Advanced Higher 76.3% 81.3%

"In addition to the above examination results, there were 441 further presentations for awards at National 2, 3 and 4, all of which were successfully achieved by learners.

"As well as success in academic assessment being shared today, the Comhairle recognises and celebrates the many achievements of our pupils, in areas of applied learning, sport, culture, heritage and community service in the last year.

"A key measure of the success of our education provision is capacity for pupils to go on to positive destinations after they leave school, equipped for the next step in their journey.

"Comhairle schools are able to report some of the highest positive post-school outcomes in Scotland with 97.1% of our leavers continuing to be in a positive destination three months after leaving school."

Chairman of the Education, Skills and Children’s Services Committee, Councillor Paul Finnegan, said: “Today, we recognise the many achievements of the pupils across the Western Isles that sat exams in 2023 I congratulate all that achieved success in today’s results. It was a year that saw the continuing legacy of the pandemic as well as other disruption to education but our pupils continued to excel and, for another year, performed above the national average in many qualifications.  

Donald Macleod, Chief Officer for Education & Children’s Services also said: “I want to congratulate and recognise the achievement of all our learners that received awards. Today’s successes are the result of hard work and commitment of our learners and school staff throughout another unique and challenging year. We are here to provide help and support for any young people who didn’t get the results they wanted today. Our staff will be on-hand to provide direct support to learners as well as being able to access the SQA and SDS national helplines.”  

Results Helpline

Some pupils may not have received the results that had been hoped for and school staff are available to provide support and guidance.

As well as contacting schools directly, pupils can also seek advice and help in the following ways:

Stornoway: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar, Developing the Young Workforce Outer Hebrides, Skills Development Scotland and UHI Outer Hebrides will be in Stornoway Town Hall today  (9 August) from 12pm to 4pm to discuss options for pupils who have received their exam results.

Lionacleit: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Developing the Young Workforce Outer Hebrides will be in Lionacleit Education Centre today (9 August) from 12pm to 4pm to provide advice and support for pupils.

Tarbert: Comhairle nan Eilean Siar and Developing the Young Workforce Outer Hebrides will be in Sir E Scott School today (9 August) from 9am to 4pm to provide advice and support for pupils.

Castlebay: Castlebay pupils can contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to arrange discussions with DYW Outer Hebrides and Comhairle nan Eilean Siar staff.