Hundreds of students at schools across the borough celebrated A Level exam success last week.
After an agonising wait, sixth form pupils at local schools finally got their A and AS Level results on Thursday, August 15.
At Ballyclare High School, principal David Knox said he was delighted with this year’s A Level results.
The overall pass rate at the Rashee Road school was 99.8 per cent and there were some great individual results, including Matthew McGrath who achieved a remarkable 4 A* grades and Gillian McCloy who gained 3A* grades and an A. In total 28 pupils achieved either three or four A*/A grades.
“One of the main indicators of a significant improvement on last year’s results is the percentage of pupils attaining three A Levels at grades A to C. This year it was 83 per cent, well above last year’s average for Northern Ireland grammar schools. Overall 36 per cent of all our grades were A* or A,” Mr Knox commented.
Ballyclare High also had some excellent results at AS Level, with 13 pupils attaining four A*/A grades and almost 30 per cent attaining at least three A*/A grades.
“In a year where there has been a drop nationally in A Level outcomes it is very satisfying to see results that once again place Ballyclare High School well above the average of Northern Ireland grammar schools. I congratulate the pupils on their efforts and their teachers for their hard work and dedication,” the headmaster added.
At Ballyclare Secondary School, principal Kathryn Bell said she was delighted to see so many pupils fulfil their potential.
“This year an impressive 93 per cent of pupils have achieved three A* to E grades, with a majority of pupils achieving at least one top grade. This is a further improvement on the excellent results obtained last year,” she explained.
Mrs Bell praised all the pupils for their “outstanding achievements”, particularly Zoe Younger who achieved three A* grades.
“Our achievements this year are on a par with many schools in the selective sector and clear evidence that with hard work and the support of dedicated teachers young people can achieve at the very highest levels.
“Our pupils have excelled in a wide range of courses and we believe that providing a curriculum that is broad and varied ensures that pupils engage in courses they are actually interested in and this improves levels of attainment,” she said.
“Many pupils have already secured their places at university and further education courses and apprenticeships and others have already entered their chosen area of employment. We wish them all continuing success as they continue on their education journey or take up their place in the world of work.”
The school’s Year 13 pupils also performed well in their exams, achieving an impressive 85 per cent pass rate for those attaining three A to E grades.
“As a school we aim to challenge and inspire all our pupils regardless of ability and it is very pleasing to note that our pupils have been able to achieve above and beyond their expectations in the wide range of courses available to them.
“Pupils and staff have all worked extremely hard and deserve the great results they have achieved. As in previous years we acknowledge the support of parents and the very important part they continue to play in the success of Ballyclare Secondary School,” Mrs Bell added.
At Glengormley High School more students than ever achieved top grades, meaning even more will be going on to university.
Some 34 per cent of pupils achieved three or more A* - C grades - up four per cent on last year’s figure. And 70 per cent gained three or more A* - E grades - up 12 per cent on the 2012 result.
“Once again we are delighted with the excellent academic achievements of our post-16 students. Sixth form provision and achievement in Glengormley High School has grown from strength to strength, as our outstanding results this year demonstrate, supporting the recommendation by the NEELB that we should continue to be a significant provider of 11 - 18 education,” said vice-principal Colin Millar.
Mr Millar said that the achievements of school’s pupils, most of whom didn’t achieve success in the 11+ selection process, show that every school can be a good school.
“I would like to thank our hard-working staff and our supportive parents, without whom this continued success could not be maintained. However, this success would not be possible without the achievements of our outstanding young people.”
Monkstown Community School and Edmund Rice College were also celebrating plenty of exam success last Thursday, with pupils at both schools performing well at A Level and AS Level.
No-one at Belfast High School was available for comment.
Across Northern Ireland, more than 30,000 students gathered at schools and colleges to pick up their results.
While there was a small decrease in the percentage of young people achieving the top grades (A* and A), this year’s results saw a slight rise in those getting passes (A* - E).
While many young people are planning to continue their studies at university and others will enter the world of work, some may still be unsure about what they are going to do next.
Help and advice is available from the careers service student helpline - 0300 200 7820 - and online on the NI Direct website.
Careers advisers from the UCAS exam results helpline - 0808 100 8000 - are also on hand to provide valuable careers information and advice to local students (and their parents).
The GCSE results are due to be released today (Thursday).