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Should we be proud of these SQA results?

John Swinney may be celebrating, but the most recent data masks some worrying trends

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When this year’s Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) results were announced, the government was – quite rightly – keen to highlight the positive stories behind the data.

There was an understandable focus on overall achievement, pass rates and successful university applications, with education secretary John Swinney insisting that “the whole country should rightly be proud”. Other parties also joined in the congratulations, even if some couldn’t resist qualifying their praise by suggesting that students’ achievements had been despite, rather than as a consequence of, the government’s ...

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