A GLASWEGIAN teenager battling a “death sentence” deportation to Pakistan has managed to achieve As and Bs in his Highers.

Last year we told of how the community in Springburn had rallied round 16-year-old Somer Umeed Bakhsh, his younger brother Areeb and their parents, after a plea for asylum was rejected by the Home Office.

The boys fled their country of birth in 2012 with midwife mum Parveen and data analyst dad Maqsood.

The family had received death threats from Islamic extremists over their Christian faith and, despite moving several times over two years, could not find safety.

Despite this, the Home Office denied the four asylum, saying they should settle in another part of Pakistan, where blasphemy remains on the statute books.

More than 93,000 people signed petitions calling for the Umeed Bakhsh family to be given the right to stay here.

Despite the stress and trauma of living with uncertainty, Somer achieved As in Maths, Chemistry, Physics and English and a B in Design and Manufacture.

He said: "I'm extremely pleased with my exam results.

"I want to thank my primary school teachers who provided me with a strong foundation and my secondary school teachers who put in the hard work and taught me.

"I am also very thankful for my parents who, despite the stressful situation, always encouraged and supported me.

"Above all, I want to thank God who helped me to stay focused on my studies in the midst of these tough times."

Minister Rev Linda Pollock from the Possilpark Parish Church attended by the family said Somer was an “example to us all".

She paid tribute to the teenager: “How many adults would be able to achieve 4 As and 1 B at Higher level while coping with the threat of imminent departure to a place where they are a target for extremist Islamists?

“His hard work and focus is commendable and you must also know that he has not been a recluse.

“He has a very active social life and he works with kids living with difficult circumstances.”

Pollock said Somer, who along with his brother consider themselves Scottish, is a good cricket player and is a member of his local club’s under-19 team.

“He is a gift to our community and our congregation and we are thankful for him and his family,” she added.

“How irresponsible it would be for the Home Office to deport this youngster when he has hardly begun to live.

“If he is offering so much at 16 years of age what will he offer at 30?

“I hope that the Home Office will re-examine the family’s case, stop treating them as numbers and acknowledge them as human beings because they have so much to give to Scotland.”

The family’s case is still under review and the Home Office has yet to make a decision.

Overall exam pass rates fell at every level except National 5, according to this year's Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) results.

More than 136,000 candidates who have completed SQA exams, courses and awards this year received their results on Tuesday.

Year-on-year pass rates are down at National 2 by 2.6%, National 3 by 3.6%, National 4 by 2.6%, Higher by 2% and Advanced Higher by 1.1%.

The only stage at which the pass rate increased compared to 2018 was at National 5, with 78.2% of pupils achieving grades A-C, up 0.7%.

National 5 improvements include an increase of 4.4% in passes for English and a 1.3% rise in maths, with entries up by 2.4% overall.

Pupils taking Higher courses fell by more than 6000, down from 191,951 in 2018 to 185,914 in 2019, with the pass rate down 2% to 74.8%.

Secretary John Swinney defended the results, arguing if pass rates were to regularly increase "people would rightly question the robustness of our assessment system".

Swinney, who was visiting pupils receiving their results at Forth Valley College in Stirling, said: "Congratulations to the pupils who have worked so hard and achieved so much this year.

"Thank you to all our teachers, lecturers and SQA staff for their dedicated support throughout the past twelve months.

"These are a strong set of results which show a degree of year-on-year variation expected in a high-performing education system with credible assessment."

"I am pleased to see an overall rise in the pass rate for National 5, with increases in passes for maths and English.

"At Higher level we have seen a welcome upturn in the collective number of passes for the sciences – something we have focused our efforts on for some time."

He added: "Our learners now have a much wider range of choice than ever before, allowing them to find the route into employment or further education that is right for them.

"There has been a sustained increase in the number of skills-based qualifications, with 54,406 awards achieved this year, more than double the figure attained in 2012 and a rise of more than 4000 awards on last year.

"While three-quarters of Higher candidates gained a pass at A-C, there has been a fall in the overall pass rate.

"This year for the first time we saw the removal of unit assessments at Higher level, a move that was broadly supported by the education sector.

"If the pass rate only ever went up people would rightly question the robustness of our assessment system.

"We need to continue to ensure teachers have the right support in place to help them provide the best learning and teaching experiences for our young people."

The Deputy First Minister added the planned review of the Curriculum for Excellence's senior phases should help politicians understand how it is being implemented in schools and "identify any areas where we can collaborate with the education system to further improve the quality of education for our pupils".

Skills Development Scotland (SDS) said expert careers advisers would be on hand from 8am to discuss with pupils their next steps.

Director of career information James Russell said: "If your results aren't what you expected don't panic, you have lots of options.

"Our experienced advisers are here to help you and your parents and carers with information on all the options and opportunities available to you."

NSPCC Scotland counsellors are also poised to help any young people worried about their results via the Childline service.

The SDS helpline will be available from 8am to 8pm on Tuesday and Wednesday, and from 9am to 5pm weekdays from Thursday until Wednesday August 14. The number to call is 0808 100 8000.

Childline's free confidential helpline number is 0800 11 11.