NICOLA Sturgeon has wished secondary school pupils good luck as they receive their exam results.

For a second year running, results day has been upended by the pandemic.

The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) is releasing results at 9.30am, with pupils being notified throughout the day of their individual achievement.

Following controversy created by last year's results – which included protests by students and a vote of no confidence in then Education Secretary John Swinney – the system was changed for this year's cycle.

The First Minister pointed towards Skills Development Scotland which has posted advice for youngsters as well as parents and carers.

She tweeted: "Best wishes to all young people receiving results today – well done on your hard work in what has been another tough year.

"I hope you get the grades you are hoping for, but advice is available if you need it."

With exams cancelled last year, an algorithm was devised to help with grading. Among other factors, this took into account the previous attainment of individual schools when grading estimates from teachers.

The system resulted in almost 125,000 pupils being downgraded – a disproportionate number of whom were from poorer areas – but was eventually scrapped.

Following the cancellation of this year's exam diet, the Scottish Government and SQA implemented a new system, this time without an algorithm and with more of a focus on teacher estimates.

Pupils will also be able to appeal directly to the SQA if they believe their grades are unwarranted, following an announcement in June from new Education Secretary Shirley-Anne Somerville.

But pupils, teachers and parents sought to raise the alarm about the new system throughout the spring, claiming that, in order to produce the required evidence, exam-style assessments had to be held, despite the cancellation of the diet.

Scottish Green education spokesman Ross Greer said: "The Scottish Government and SQA should start this year's results day with an apology to Scotland's young people for the entirely avoidable levels of stress and anxiety they were put through.

"The onslaught of de-facto exams after Easter wasn't a necessary requirement, it was the result of a near-total failure to plan for the effects of Covid disruption earlier in the school year.

"The decision to cancel exams was taken far too late, the alternative grading system was based on evidence that didn't yet exist and the only way to produce it on time was through tests which in every meaningful way mirrored the exams they had cancelled.

"On top of all of this, pupils and teachers have no ability to appeal a grade on compassionate grounds or other exceptional circumstances."