There was good news for Scottish education last week as young people opened their exam results after a long and anxious wait.

It was so pleasing to see that months of effort, dedication and hard work paid off for so many of our young learners, with great Higher and Advanced Higher pass rates being achieved.

Getting your exam results can also be a very stressful time for lots of students.

If you did not receive the results that you had hoped for, do not worry. Help is on hand to support you, offered by Skills Development Scotland at

We also saw last week that a record number of places at universities across Scotland have been filled by students from the most deprived areas, which is excellent news.

The UCAS figures showed the number of prospective students from the 20 per cent most deprived areas in Scotland – SIMD 20 – successfully gaining a place at a UK university has risen by five per cent, which is a new record level for all ages.

And this figure has also risen by nine per cent amongst 18-year-olds, taking the increase in that age group to 21 per cent since 2016.

Every SNP politician wants every child in Scotland to have an equal chance of success and an even playing field, no matter what your background or circumstances might be.

These latest figures from UCAS show that we are on the right track to accomplishing this by achieving a record rise in students from deprived areas for three years in a row now. I hope we can keep going with this.

More work must be done, however, if we want to fully widen the access for our most disadvantaged people.

I am always encouraged by the efforts made by our local university in Paisley and Renfrewshire South, the University of the West of Scotland.

Whenever I have met with staff and students at the campus, they always take great pride in leading the way when it comes to access for students from our most deprived areas.

This week, we will also see the schools going back from the summer holidays across Renfrewshire.

This year, the SNP-led Renfrewshire Council budget raised the funding of the school clothing grant to £70 and, with extra funding also coming from the Scottish Government, this has now been raised to £100 per eligible pupil.

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Mhairi was full of praise for Iain Nicolson's SNP-led Renfrewshire Council 

This is vital support and a step towards gaining the attainment and equality that we strive for in education and early years development. I hope parents will find affording school uniforms less of a struggle with this in place.

No family should have to worry about the stigma surrounding affording clothing for school and it is good to see that our council and the Scottish Government are making great strides in combating this.

I would like to take this opportunity to wish all of the pupils going back to schools in Renfrewshire all the very best for the year ahead.

I also wish students going to university next month the best of luck with their studies.