Winter Assessment Window 2021

Winter Assessment Window 2021

Update (11/12/2020): Following the announcement that there will be no external exams in Higher and Adv. Higher courses for session 2020-2021 we are actively reviewing our plans to ensure we are preparing our students in the best possible way for gathering attainment evidence internally.  We will update this page with further information at the earliest possible opportunity.


Following recent updates around the structure and length of the Christmas break and ongoing uncertainly around the long term impact of Covid on the 2021 SQA Examination diet, we are now in a position to share information about our Winter Assessment Window.

Higher and Advanced Higher Pupils

At this time, it is expected that the SQA exams will continue as planned for Highers and Advanced Highers.  We are awaiting a further update from the Scottish Government.

Taking into account the constraints associated with Covid-19 related risk assessments, the following summarises our plans for January/February assessments for Highers and Advanced Highers

  • There will be a ten school day window (18-29 January) for internal Higher and Advanced Higher with one or more assessments on any given date.
  • Wherever possible assessments will take place as single sittings in normal teaching classrooms or other identified rooms.
  • Wherever possible assessments will reflect the full timing and structure of the final papers, including assessment arrangement where appropriate.
  • S5-6 pupils will not be expected to attend school on days they do not have assessments, but are expected to study from home for the duration of these times.  Consent will be required for this.
  • S5-6 pupils who live locally will be asked to attend school only for the duration of their assessments.  S5-6 pupils who are transported to school will be able to attend their normal timetabled classes, but must work independently.
  • Results will be released to pupils from Monday 8th February onward.
  • Normal SQA malpractice rules will apply.

National 5 pupils

All S4 pupils will be in school during our Winter Assessment Window

Given that there are no external exams for National 5 pupils this session, it is vital that National 5 pupils take every opportunity to provide evidence of their attainment.  Throughout the course of the session pupils would be expected to provide 3-4 significant pieces of evidence to support their initial grades.  While normally a prelim would be the main piece of evidence, given that there is no external exam, any assessment undertaken during the winter assessment window should be seen as of equal importance to the other assessment opportunities.

  • There will be a ten school day window (18-29 January) where some assessments may be provided during normal class time, others may be out with this window.
  • S4 pupils are expected to attend all normal classes during the assessment window.
  • Assessments will take place in normal teaching classrooms, supervised by their normal class teacher.
  • Wherever possible assessments will be delivered as papers of up to 40 minutes in length (or 80 minutes for a double lesson)  to allow pupils entitled to extra time to complete these within normal 50 (or 100) minute timetables classes.
  • S5/6 pupils taking National 5 courses should attend class for planned assessments returning home wherever possible.  If not possible these pupils should attend their normal timetabled classes.
  • S4 results will be released to pupils as they become available following marking and internal verification.
  • Normal SQA malpractice rules will apply.


Work is underway on an assessment timetable and this will be shared as soon as possible.

National 4 Pupils

Given that there are no external exams for National 4 pupils, normal classroom practice will apply for gathering assessment evidence.  S5-6 pupils should only attend school for planned assessments.

Foundation Apprenticeships

Pupils studying foundation apprenticeships should attend these as normal unless attending an assessment for another SQA course.  Catch-up resources are available from the FA tutors.


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