Newly released data has revealed that Castlehead High School in Paisley had more pupil exam grades lowered by the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) than any other school in Renfrewshire.

This year’s grades were originally based on teacher assessments after exams were cancelled because of the coronavirus pandemic.

New school-by-school figures, released by Urban Big Data Centre, in Glasgow, shows the system which replaced cancelled exams was unfair on young people in the most deprived communities in Scotland.

The system of ‘moderating’ estimated grades submitted by teachers unfairly disadvantaged pupils who attended schools with lower historical records, regardless of the individual pupil’s own history of achievement.

In Renfrewshire, Castlehead saw 40.2% of grades lowered, and 21.4% of Highers were adjusted from pass to fail. These grades were raised again after a backlash from pupils, teachers and parents.

Gryffe High, in Houston, only had 12% of grades lowered, with 7% going from pass to fail.

Green MSP Ross Greer, who was one of the politicians who campaigned to have the new system scrapped, told Renfrewshire News: “These figures reveal just how unfair this system was, just as the Scottish Greens had warned of for months. Pupils at Castlehead and across the country were treated like statistics rather than people and judged more on their postcode than their abilities.

“Fortunately, Green MSPs were able to negotiate a solution which saw all 124,565 grades restored and the independent inquiry we secured has now published its findings, so there is no excuse for this to happen again. This is the power of constructive opposition with a minority government. If the SNP had a majority in Parliament, I doubt we would have seen such a clear resolution to this shambles.”

Centre Name Highers adjusted from ‘pass’ to ‘fail’ Highers adjusted up Highers adjusted down
Castlehead High School 21.40% 1.00% 40.20%
Gleniffer High School 10.20% 1.80% 24.20%
Gryffe High School 7.40% 0.90% 12.40%
Johnstone High School 15.10% 2.50% 24.00%
Linwood High School 17.30% 4.50% 32.50%
Paisley Grammar School 12.00% 1.60% 26.00%
Park Mains High School 7.50% 2.00% 13.30%
Renfrew High School 13.10% 2.70% 31.30%
St Andrew’s Academy 13.40% 0.60% 28.20%
St Benedict’s High School 16.20% 0.50% 38.60%
Trinity High School 12.00% 2.60% 19.50%

Special Educational Needs schools and FE colleges have been excluded from these results