The SQA has published a message for parents and carers with an update on Higher and Advanced Higher courses 2020-21

A message for parents and carers

Wednesday 16 December

On 8 December, the Deputy First Minister cancelled the Higher and Advanced Higher exams for 2021. This also means that coursework will not be marked by SQA, however it can still count as evidence of your child’s learning. We understand that you want to know what this means for your children.

The National Qualifications 2021 Group continues to meet weekly and is now working through the finer details of how Higher and Advanced Higher courses will be awarded in 2021. These courses will broadly follow the model we recently announced for National 5 results, where teachers and lecturers will use their professional judgement of your child’s evidence, subject to quality assurance.

Your child’s teacher or lecturer will be able to use subject guidance and assessment materials to help them gather evidence of your childs performance. SQA will publish these documents early in the new year to support learning and teaching.

We understand that your child may have already sat prelims or they may be due to sit prelim exams for Higher and Advanced Higher courses early in 2021. Whilst there is no requirement for schools and colleges to hold these exams, it is a school or college decision whether or not to conduct them. Results from prelims which have already been carried out or which are planned may count towards evidence of your child’s learning.

Teachers and lecturers may use various methods to measure the depth of subject learning of your child including class tests, marked assignments as well as more formal style assessments. All of these can be used as evidence to support your child’s provisional result. The school or college will decide on the best assessment approaches for gathering evidence of your child’s learning.

To stay up to date on National Qualifications in 2021, visit where we will regularly provide additional information to support you and your child during the course of this school year.

The National Qualifications 2021 Group

The National Qualifications 2021 Group is represented by the Association of Directors of Education in Scotland (ADES), Colleges Scotland, Education Scotland, the Educational Institute of Scotland (EIS), School Leaders Scotland (SLS), the Scottish Council of Independent Schools (SCIS), Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA), the Scottish Government, National Parent Forum of Scotland (NPFS), and the Scottish Youth Parliament.