Supporting Care Experienced People with Certification and Appeals 2021

Who Cares? Scotland is a rights-based advocacy and influencing organisation working with people who have experience of the care system through individual and collective independent advocacy. We aim to provide Care Experienced people with knowledge of their rights and the support needed to empower them to positively participate in the formal structures and processes they are often subject to solely because of their care experience.

We are concerned about current plans for SQA’s 2021 Appeals Service, and the level of support currently being offered to Care Experienced students due to receive certification results shortly. Alongside the Scottish Youth Parliament and others: we are asking SQA to reconsider its position on the appeals system, and give young people and students a guarantee that, if they do appeal, their grade will not go down, and that every effort will be made to ensure that any exceptional circumstances they have experienced during this period are taken into account.

Louise Hunter, CEO of Who Cares? Scotland, said:

“All children across Scotland have hopes and ambitions, Care Experienced students are no exception. We represent over 3,000 Care Experienced people across Scotland, many of whom are awaiting confirmation of their results from the SQA. However, they do so without traditional family support around them.

“Today, we’re joining many organisations in asking that SQA reconsider its position on the appeals system, and give young people and students a guarantee that, if they do appeal, their grade will not be in detriment . 

“We are also asking that they commit, as a Corporate Parent with statutory responsibilities towards Care Experienced people, to meeting with our members to discuss the appeals process and create tailored information and support for Care Experienced learners, based on these conversations. 

Kira Henry, member of our National Representative Body, has said:

Just like all students across Scotland, I will be affected by this. However, as a Care Experienced person, I will be facing this without the traditional supports that others have. Throughout our lives we have to navigate through a number of uncertainties and decisions in which we have no say but our education is supposed to be different. 

For many Care Experienced people school is a safe, constant space where you know what to expect. Unfortunately, due to so many variables impacting this year it has not been the case which is now being extended into the assessment and appeals process.

“Making this more difficult is the uncertainty that if we appeal, we could see our grade lowered without having the opportunity to prove we could have gained a better one. 

“It is vital that the SQA meets with Care Experienced people, in fact it is their responsibility to do so as a Corporate Parent, to better understand the issues we face during this years’ assessment and appeals process. Only then will they be able to ensure they have done their best to meet their Corporate Parenting duties.

The SQA describes themselves as a proud Corporate Parent in a unique position to make clear guarantees to Care Experienced people. We agree, which is why we believe SQA can do much more to ensure Care Experienced learners are not unfairly disadvantaged in the 2021 appeals process and in their ability to achieve educationally, due to the inequalities the Covid-19 pandemic has intensified.

Our Asks for SQA

1. Introduce a ‘no detriment’ policy to the 2021 Appeals Process
2. Ensure a learner’s Care Experienced status can be considered in the 2021 Appeals Process
3. Create more tailored information and support for Care Experienced learners
4. Meet directly with members of Who Cares? Scotland

We have prepared a full briefing paper, which can be read here

With thanks to Scottish Local Authorities, funding partners and donors who make our work possible.