Anxious days for Scottish students

25th August 2000 at 01:00
AROUND 400 Scottish students had still to secure university places as The TES went to press because of the mix-up over exam results north of the border.

The problem with the Highers - the Scottish equivalent of A-levels - has also led to delays in the Standard Grade results, the equivalent of GCSEs.

Due to be posted by August 14, the Standard results are now expected to start going out in the week beginning September 4, following a re-check of all the results by the Scottish Qualifications Authority.

Meanwhile, the Universities and Colleges Admissions Service (UCAS) warned that the number of Scottish pupils admitted to universities was down by 6.6 per cent (1,376) to 19,587, compared to 20,963 this time last year.

But UCAS chief executive Tony Higgins was hopeful that more Scottish students than last year would eventually find places.

"The initial delay in exam results meant universities and colleges could not confirm many places for several days, but they are catching up quickly," he said. "Recent announcements of extra flexibility in the number of places that higher education nstitutions can offer may mean that more places could be available this year too."

As The TES went to press, the SQA claimed that fewer than 2,000 candidates were still waiting for their results - and said they should all know shortly.

A spokesman added: "We take responsibility for the data management problems that have delayed candidates from taking up their places at colleges or universities, and we are working hard to correct this."

Students who don't know their correct results have been unable to confirm offers of university places, or search for new ones via the clearing system - which has been in full swing for more than a week. Other UK students may have already filled the best spare places.

An inquiry has been announced into the fiasco. The SQA's chief executive Ron Tuck has already resigned, and there have been calls for education minister Sam Galbraith to quit too. UCAS has said it would want to give evidence to the inquiry.

Mr Galbraith said he was very sorry for the stress and anxiety caused to students.

UCAS helpline 01242 227788 or see

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