Exam results day in Scotland will soon be upon us once again, with thousands of students awaiting results from 8am tomorrow. But there is a huge operation that goes into reaching the point where the results are ready to be sent out.
In April, the Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) begins recruiting and training volunteers from across the organisation to help with staffing the phones on its candidate advice line – usually an extra 60 volunteers across its two sites in Glasgow and Dalkeith – on top of its 15 full-time contact centre staff.
They’ll be responding to phone calls, emails and enquiries through the SQA website, Facebook and Twitter (contact details below). The helpline is there to help candidates with questions about the content of their Scottish Qualifications Certificate envelope that they’ll be receiving tomorrow.
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In 2018, the helpline opened at 8am on results day, and took calls through to the Friday – over 4,000 calls in all, and almost 3,000 on the first day alone. Students tended to be calling about not receiving their certificate (usually because of incorrect address details), not achieving the results they expected or about an issue with results being sent by text or email through the MySQA service. One common and easily resolved issue for SQA is candidates not realising that their results email has been filtered as spam.
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SQA’s customer service manager, Seán Boyle, said: “Staff from across the business have always been keen to get involved in the candidate advice line as early as possible. They’re on hand over the course of the day – and the remainder of the week – to help candidates understand the contents of their certificate. It’s a busy, and often emotional, time for everyone receiving a result, but our focus is always on the candidates, so if our team can offer support and reassurance for young people and their families, then they’ll have done their job.”
Skills Development Scotland (SDS) is also running a results helpline from 8am tomorrow, which is the first port of call for candidates with questions about next steps in education, training or employment (call 0808 100 8000).
James Russell, SDS director of career information, advice and guidance operations, said: “If your results aren’t what you expected, don’t panic – you have lots of options.
“Our careers advisers are here to help you and your parents and carers with information on all the options and opportunities on offer.”
The dedicated SDS exam results helpline will be open from 8am to 8pm on Tuesday 6 and Wednesday 7 August, and from 9am to 5pm weekdays from Thursday 8 until Wednesday 14 August.
Joanna Murphy, chair of the National Parent Forum of Scotland, said: “I know from my own experiences that the SDS Exam Results Helpline is a real lifeline.
“Whether you’ve had unexpected results, or just want to talk over your choices, the advisers can talk you through the wide range of options available to you.
“A calm conversation takes some of the heat out of the emotion of the day, and reminds young people that, no matter the results, there is always a next step.”
For those who need to contact the SQA rather than the SDS, it’s helpful to have a note of the Scottish Candidate Number (SCN). It’s also worth noting that, unless there is expressed permission from a candidate, SQA staff are unable to talk to a parent, carer or any other third party about results. If, however, the parent and candidate are both on the phone, and the candidate gives the OK to do so, SQA is happy to discuss details with the parent.
If candidates haven’t received their results in any form, they should contact their school or college in the first instance, who should be able to help. If not, they should contact the SQA.
The SQA contact details are:
Complete an enquiry form
Phone: 0345 279 1000