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Exceptional Exam Results 2021

Many congratulations to pupils throughout the Upper School who this year recorded an outstanding set of SQA exam results in the face of months of disruption and uncertainty.


The successful completion, by all our candidates, of valid school-based course assessments between March and June allowed the School to submit provisional grades underpinned by credible evidence which had been moderated by teachers from other independent schools and the SQA. We are delighted to announce that all these grades were accepted by the SQA and confirmed by certification on August 10th.


This year’s pass rate (A-C) for Higher is 100%, matching a high watermark last achieved in 2017.  The national pass rate was 87.3%, slightly lower than last year. The proportion of ESS Higher results graded ‘A’ or ‘B’ was 95%, the strongest performance ever—though in line with benchmark expectations for this cohort, whose performance in external examinations has been consistently excellent over several years. The percentage of Higher results graded ‘A’ was 81.8%, also a record for our school, though in line with a long-term trend of steady improvement in the percentage of Higher ‘A’ grades at ESS.


Advanced Higher results (Art) were outstanding, with 100% of the seven results achieving an ‘A’ grade. Of the 6 presentations for National 4, all candidates passed.


The ESS pass rate for National 5, also generated this year by school-based assessments, was 96.1%, a record result, just topping the high watermark of 2017 and well above the national pass rate of 85.8% The proportion of ‘A’ and ‘B’ grades attained by ESS candidates was broadly in line with the strong performances of recent years (91%) while the percentage of ‘A’ grades (69.2% of 78 presentations) was higher than in recent years.


A majority of pupils at both Higher and National 5 achieved the coveted string of ‘straight As’. Performances were especially strong in Maths, Languages, Sciences and English.


All these results are a rich reward for all the hard work and commitment demonstrated by Upper School pupils and their teachers during what has been another challenging year. These results also mark the successful conclusion of the School’s ‘careers’ work for the year, with all Class 12 leavers securing their first choices of onward destinations.


GCSE results will be released later this month.

Alistair Pugh, SQA Coordinator 



Perhaps of interest:

ESS does not select on academic ability and there is no entrance exam.

Our curriculum ensures that irrespective of exam choices, pupils receive a broad education which encompasses science, the arts, crafts, languages and humanities through the Main Lesson Programme, unique to Steiner Waldorf education.

Pupils here start formal learning at ESS in their seventh year – up to 2.5 years later than mainstream P1.


Our Upper School perform well above the national average academically, benefiting from exam subject ratios of between 5-8 pupils to one teacher.

This year, we celebrate a 100% pass rate in the face of months of disruption and uncertainty to education.

Academic excellence allows our young people ‘lift-off’, but it is our creative approach to learning which really encourages them to fly.


Exam Results (2014 – 2021)

Qualifications, Exams & Careers Handbook (2021)