Moray Council's Head of Education, Vivienne Cross and Elgin High School Head Teacher, Hugh McCulloch, celebrate with S4, S5 and S6 pupils who received their SQ exam results on 8 August 2023.

Over 2,100 young people in Moray receive SQA exam results - second highest number of five or more Higher A grades for 20 years

Moray pupils received their 2022/23 year SQA exam results this morning (Tuesday 8 August) by text message, e-mail or post in the second year of returning to formal SQA exams following the Covid-19 pandemic.

This year, performance in SQA exams remains positive, and in-line with last year, with 80 young people across Moray achieving 6 ‘A’ grades at National 5.

With the exception of 2021, when assessments were different due to exams being cancelled, this year sees Moray’s pupils achieve the highest number of five or more A grades at Higher for 20 years. A record of 29 young people achieved this in 2022/23 with a number of individual successes of note.

In response to this year’s SQA exam results, Vivienne Cross, Head of Education (Chief Education Officer) at Moray Council, said: “Well done to all our young people who are receiving their results today. It’s important to recognise that SQA results are only part of the many forms of achievement our young people gain during their time in secondary schools. Please do not be anxious if your results are not as you had hoped for as there are many opportunities to gain accreditation to support your chosen pathway. 

“Our early analysis of results shows improvement in various measures, compared with August 2022, as well as areas we continue to focus on as part of our improving outcomes focus for all. Thank you to the schools who have continued to support our young people with a range of revision sessions, wellbeing interventions and alternative assessment arrangements for SQA exams where they were needed too. 

“I hope all staff and pupils enjoy the last week of their holidays and look forward to welcoming everyone back next week.”

Over 90% of pupils achieved an award (A-D) at S4 National 5 with an increase in 3, 5 and 7 or more passes (A-C) at level 5 based on last year’s data.

In S4, performance is stronger compared with 2019, the last comparable SQA exam year prior to last year, with the 5, 6, and 7 or more qualifications at S4 National 5 marker in particular seeing a positive increase. 

This year also saw schools increasing the breadth of qualifications offered to young people, with 43 pupils achieving 7 or more ‘A’ passes in S4 at National 5 and 25 young people achieving 1 or more Higher (SCQF level 6) passes in S4, as a further level of study appropriate to their individual learner journey.

Positive performances in S4 are noted in Administration and IT, Applications of Maths, Art and Design, Chemistry, Drama, English, French, German, History, Music, Physical Education, Practical Cookery, Practical Woodworking and Spanish.

Performance at S5 Higher remains comparable to last session with 91% of young people achieving an award at (A-D). In particular, 5 or more qualifications at level 6 increased, with 15% of young people achieving these qualifications. 

In particular, young people performed well in Art and Design, Business Management, French, German, Graphic Communication, History, Music, Physical Education and Politics.

At S6 Advanced Higher, 89% of young people achieved an award (A-D) and at Higher, 85% of young people achieved an award at this level. As schools extended their curriculum offer based on the wide range of SCQF qualifications and accreditation on offer, it’s noted that study at SQA level 6 (Higher) and SQA level 7 (Advanced Higher) remains appropriate for many young people in and their chosen onward destination post-school. In S6 Advanced Higher, positive performance is noted in Art and Design, English, Geography, Modern Studies and Music.

Leader of Moray Council and Chair of Education, Children’s and Leisure Services Committee, Councillor Kathleen Robertson, also commented: “I’m delighted for the young people who have worked hard and done their best to reach their potential with these results. I thank school staff for all they have done throughout the year to prepare pupils for their exams.

“I also encourage everyone to remember that there are so many options available for onward study or work that there will be a path for you regardless of results.

“Where disruption has occurred this year once again due to external actions resulting in a number of closure days and discrete subject teacher shortages, schools have made all attempts through in-school support, study opportunities and mitigations available to minimise impact on learners as far as possible. This includes broadening the range of graded SQA courses and ungraded qualifications on offer and levels of study including National Progression Awards, Foundation Apprenticeships, College courses, skills based courses and wider accreditation options suited to individual learners and their chosen pathways."

Any pupil requiring support or advice can contact their school in the first instance. 

Skills Development Scotland are also on hand to support with advice and next steps through the Exam Results Helpline and are contactable on 0808 100 8000 and via social media @skillsdevscot. 

The SQA candidate advice line can also be accessed on: 0345 279 1000 or general advice may be accessed via their website, and social media @sqanews.

Those young people requiring advice about University places should contact UCAS online on, on social media (; Twitter @ucas_online) or by phone on 0371 468 0468. 

Contact Information

Moray Council Press Office