22 Foyle pupils received an impressive nine or more GCSE A grades

Pictured with Principal Mr Patrick Allen are the 22 pupils from Foyle College who received nine or more grade As in their GCSE examinations.
Pictured with Principal Mr Patrick Allen are the 22 pupils from Foyle College who received nine or more grade As in their GCSE examinations.

Twenty-two pupils at Foyle and Londonderry College have been celebrating the receipt of nine or more A grades in their GCSE examinations.

The Joint Council for Qualifications Community Interest Company (CIC) said they were amongst those contributing to high performances across several subject areas across Northern Ireland.

For instance, this Summer there’s been a 0.2 per cent point increase in the proportion of entries awarded the top A* grade, rising to 8.9 per cent. Entries achieving A* - A have also seen an increase, rising 0.2 per cent points to 28.2 per cent.

Meanwhile the performance of pupils at A* - C has risen by 1.5 per cent points to 78 per cent of entries. More detailed analysis of the data shows increased achievement in English, Maths and Science. In Summer 2014 the percentage of entries achieving grades A* - C in English rose from 68.8 per cent in 2013 to 73 per cent. In Maths the percentage gaining these grades rose 1.6 per cent points to 66.2 per cent, and in Science from 61.5 per cent in 2013 to 64.8 per cent.

The individual sciences saw particularly high performance. The proportion of entries awarded A* - C in Biology sits at 93.3 per cent (91.2 per cent in 2013), in Chemistry 93.6 per cent (93.4 per cent in 2013) and in Physics 95 per cent (94.7 per cent in 2013). There were also notable performances in Music and modern languages.

The proportion of entries awarded A* - C in French was 85.5 per cent, German 86.1 per cent, Irish 95.5 per cent and Spanish 91.4 per cent.

The corresponding figure for Music was 91.5 per cent.

This Summer also saw an increased percentage of entries from boys achieving the A*, A* - A, and A* - C grades.

Despite this improvement, girls maintained the gap in performance outperforming boys by 4.3 per cent points at A*, by 10 per cent points at A* - A, and by 7.6 per cent points at A* - C.

Overall, GCSE entries here fell from 176,301 in 2013 to 172,692 in 2014, a drop of 2 per cent points.

This is broadly in line with a decrease in the Northern Ireland Year 12 school population of 2.8 per cent points.

Despite the decrease in entries overall, there were notable increases in Additional Mathematics, Business Studies, German, ICT, Mathematics, and Statistics.

The popularity of STEM subjects such as Biology, Chemistry, Design & Technology and Physics has been maintained.

This is also the case for modern language subjects.

Speaking on behalf of the JCQCIC, CCEA Director of Qualifications, Anne Marie Duffy, commented:

“It is pleasing to see the hard work of Northern Ireland students and teachers being reflected in these results.

“The performance in core subjects of English and Mathematics will provide strong foundations for learners as they move on to further education, training and employment. “There were also notable performances in modern languages, science subjects and Music.

“This year there has been a 2.8 per cent points fall in the Northern Ireland Year 12 school population, and we’ve seen GCSE entries decrease by 3,609.

“Against this backdrop, entries in Business Studies and ICT have risen while sciences and modern languages have maintained their popularity.”

Education Minister John O’Dowd said: Minister O’Dowd said: “These young people now face choices about their future. Many will decide to continue their studies, either at their current school or perhaps in a new one. For some, the best choice will be to move into further education or into training or employment.

“Whatever choice they make and whatever grades received, I offer my sincere congratulations to all who have received results today.

“Inevitably there will be some who may feel disappointed that they did not achieve the grades they had hoped for. To those I say, do not panic; this is only one chapter in your life, seek advice and move on to the next chapter.

“Talk to your teachers, to your parents and families and make use of the services available that can provide useful help and guidance. There is a future pathway for every young person and these services can help identify the right one for you.

“Those who do stay on at school will experience even greater choice in their post-16 studies. From the new academic year, the Entitlement Framework policy will ensure that young people have access to at least 24 courses, both general and applied, offering clear progression routes to further and higher education, training and employment.”

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry said: “The importance of making an informed decision following exam results is imperative to effective career planning.

“Taking time now to explore options will pay dividends in the future. There are many opportunities available to you and I would urge you to examine these fully. My Department’s Careers Service provides professional, impartial careers help to people of all ages, tailored to individual needs.

“This includes assistance with CVs, job applications and interviews and advice on job trends, including industry sectors and occupations which will be important in the future.

“Young people and parents can also access a wealth of useful information through the Careers Service www.nidirect.gov.uk/careersexternal link which also contains contact details of all careers advisers throughout Northern Ireland. Alternatively you can call 0300 200 7820.

“Northern Ireland’s further education colleges also offer you the opportunity to study from a wide range of full-time courses to suit your career path, with options including A levels, GCSEs, NVQs and apprenticeships.

“You may want to consider an apprenticeship, where you have the opportunity to develop specialist skills, using new technology, giving you the chance to earn while you learn and gain qualifications that are recognised worldwide.

“Training for Success can also provide you with an opportunity to gain the skills necessary for employment, letting you enter at the level that matches your needs, develops your employability skills and allows you to gain nationally recognised qualifications. Further information is available on the www.nidirect.gov.uk/skillsexternal link.”