Education Performance Update

Despite the challenges staff and pupils have faced this year, Comhairle schools have once again performed above the national average. 

Due to the significant and on-going impact of Covid-19, a number of the typical measures of quality and performance in education are not available for 2020 and others have been amended or collected in different ways to previous years.

This makes analysis of quality improvement trends difficult. However, where information is available it is clear that Comhairle Schools have performed well.

SQA Results

Headline performance in the revised results from SQA national qualifications in 2020 showed that there were 2823 presentations for awards at all levels in Comhairle Schools. Of these presentations, 2604 resulted in an A-C pass, indicating an overall pass rate of 92.2%.  

518 awards in Comhairle schools were upgraded following the Deputy First Minister’s announcement in August about reverting to teacher estimates and 146 of these reinstatements increased the award to a pass.


For the period 17 August 2020 to 31 October 2020, the overall average attendance at Comhairle schools was 93.7%, with primary schools reporting 95.8% and secondaries 90.2% attendance. This rate of attendance is well above that being reported nationally for the same time scale.

For reference, the average attendance in 2019 for the same period was 94.9%, indicating that the previously reported indications of a slight reduction in attendance at the beginning of the first term has now stabilised, with only a small variation evident on the same period last year. 

Modern Apprenticeships and Work Based Learning 

A higher number of young people in the Western Isles are choosing to move into employment or work-based training rather than to stay on in school, whereas the trend nationally is more towards further education.

This is a strong indicator of success in the Comhairle’s policy to strengthen the local economy and retain young people through a strong programme of modern apprenticeships and work-based learning.

Cllr Angus McCormack said, “Despite living through very difficult times our young people in the Western Isles have surpassed themselves in their achievements. I wish to thank them and their teachers and parents for all their hard work.

97% of our young people have gone to the future destination of choice. That is a wonderful result. More young people are choosing to work in the islands largely because of the success of the Modern Apprenticeship courses. May I wish you all a very Happy Christmas.”