Committee commends Aberdeenshire pupils’ achievement and attainment

By bellmannews / December 9, 2021
Frontage of Mackie Academy

From Aberdeenshire Council communications team –

Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services Committee congratulated young people, parents and carers, teachers, and support staff for the level of success and achievement regarding assessments.

A report analysing attainment and achievement amongst secondary school pupils in 2020 and 2021 was considered by councillors. It explained the methods of assessment and outlined that due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the Scottish Government commissioned the Scottish Qualifications Authority to develop an “Alternative Certification Model”, based on teacher judgement and supported by assessment resources and quality assurance, to replace exams this year.

The report said due to the current fluid climate as a result of the changes to education in relation to the Coronavirus pandemic and resulting restrictions, caution should be taken when comparing attainment and achievement data from previous years due to different systems of assessment in place.

However, the data for 2020 and 2021 for attainment, attainment amongst school leavers and long-term trends shows:  

Aberdeenshire’s attainment tends to exceed national trends across most measures. For the 2021 data, Aberdeenshire exceeds the national figure on nine of the 14 measures and is in line nationally for a further four. The 2021 data suggests there are strengths in literacy and numeracy at S4 and across the ability ranges in S6. Whilst Aberdeenshire is below the Virtual Comparator in S5, it is not consistently below the national level.

The data also highlighted students leaving Aberdeenshire schools tend to have higher levels of literacy and numeracy than those across Scotland, and Aberdeenshire consistently exceeds its Virtual Comparator, particularly at Level 5.

Aberdeenshire students leaving in S4 and S6 tend to be in line with the Virtual Comparator and higher than the national average for attainment. Those leaving in S5 are either in line or above the Virtual Comparator and above the Scotland-wide level. The lowest attaining 20 per cent of S5 leavers in Aberdeenshire have consistently been above the Virtual Comparator and the national average. 

The longer-term trends show attainment levels in Aberdeenshire are very close to those nationally on five of the six measures. Aberdeenshire is two to three percentage points above the national level at Level 5. Most of the measures show a broadly stable, or very slightly increasing picture of attainment, whilst measures at Level 5 in the S4 year group is improving. However, the decreasing number of entries at Level 4 might explain the negative long-term trend.

Cllr Gillian Owen, Aberdeenshire Council’s Education and Children’s Services, Committee chair said: “Once again it is hugely pleasing to see that Aberdeenshire students are performing well and better than the national average in many cases. I am encouraged that our usual high standards in literacy and numeracy have been maintained this year.

“I would like to congratulate all young people who have been assessed in Aberdeenshire during what has been a challenging and changeable time for everyone concerned due to the pandemic. I’d like to wish every young person the very best of luck for the future, be it continuing their studies or finding employment.”

Committee vice chair Cllr Rosemary Bruce added: “I want to pay tribute to the hard work parents, carers, teachers and staff across the service have undertaken in often stressful circumstances. These results are a testament to your great work. Our young people should be very proud of what they have achieved and so should you. Your contributions have not gone unnoticed.”

To read the report in full please visit

You can also watch a webcast of the Education and Children’s Services Committee by visiting