Belfast Telegraph

Sunday 2 August 2015

Northern Ireland students a class apart as results eclipse rest of UK

By Lindsay Fergus

Published 15/08/2014 | 02:30

Bloomfield Collegiate students Victoria Bates (left) and Abbie Hearte embrace after receiving their results yesterday
Bloomfield Collegiate students Victoria Bates (left) and Abbie Hearte embrace after receiving their results yesterday
Campbell College students celebrate
Belfast Boys Model students celebrate their A-Level results yesterday
Victoria College students (from left) Beth Garrett, Emma Bickerstaff, Sophie Dalzell, Aya Helmy (5AStars) and Laura Doran
Danielle Mackin, Dominican College
Ryan Smyth, Campbell College
Rhiannon Kelly, Little Flower
Ross Neill, Grosvenor Grammar
Newry High School pupil Nadine Hempkin jumps for joy yesterday

Northern Ireland students are officially top of the class after outperforming pupils in the rest of the UK.

By last night more than 11,000 of our brightest minds had secured a place at university.

One A grade student was retired doctor Brian Shanks who, aged 68, is proof you are never too old to learn.

Dr Shanks said he had "a laugh" studying French alongside pupils who were young enough to be his grandchildren.

Northern Ireland's thriving film industry is also extending its reach into education.

Setting the Game of Thrones fantasy drama in Northern Ireland may have boosted the number of students taking media or film studies at A-Level. The Joint Council for Qualifications (JCQ) said the number taking film and media studies was up 5.7% on the previous year, despite an overall fall in the total of entrants taking exams.

Anne Marie Duffy, a director of qualifications at the Council for Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), said: "This could be related to more interest in Game of Thrones. It will be interesting to see if this becomes a trend over the next few years in response to the growing creative economy in Northern Ireland."

Campbell College student Ryan Smyth, who is going to study animation at Northumbria University, is just one pupil inspired by the HBO hit show.

"When I graduate I would like to work on a game or a TV series like Game of Thrones," said the teenager.

Amid the celebrations there were also tears for identical twins Kathryn and Olivia McCloskey who will be heading off to different universities in September.

Pupils (L-R) Alix Bell(1AStar AB),Katie Dolaghan(1AStar 2A's), Basma Salmon(1AStar 3A's) and Jenny Salmon(3AStar's 1a) from Victoria College in Belfast.
Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pupils (L-R) Alix Bell(1AStar AB),Katie Dolaghan(1AStar 2A's), Basma Salmon(1AStar 3A's) and Jenny Salmon(3AStar's 1a) from Victoria College in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Head Boy Jack Walker,Head Girl Chloe McMaster, deputy head Gareth Thompson, deputy head Rachel Cullen and deputy head Andrew Wright from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured on A Level results day. Photo Arthur Allison
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupils (L-R) Laura Doran(1AStar 2 A's), Aya Helmy(5AStars) and Sophie Dalzell(3A's) from Victoria College in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupil Ross Neill 3A Stars from from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast and will going to study Law at Christ College at Cambridge . Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupils from Victoria College in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupils from Victoria College in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pupils from Lumen Christi College in Derry who are celebrating after receiving thier A Level results. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupils from (L-R)Head Boy Jack Walker,Head Girl Chloe McMaster, deputy head Gareth Thompson, deputy head Rachel Cullen and deputy head Andrew Wright from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupils from Victoria College in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupils from Victoria College in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupils (L-R) Laura Doran(1AStar 2 A's), Aya Helmy(5AStars) and Sophie Dalzell(3A's) from Victoria College in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 13-08-2014: A-level results: Northern Ireland students perform strongly. Pictured pupils from (L-R)Head Boy Jack Walker,Head Girl Chloe McMaster, deputy head Gareth Thompson, deputy head Rachel Cullen and deputy head Andrew Wright from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Campbell College in east Belfast. Chris Heath
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Campbell College in east Belfast.
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Campbell College in east Belfast.
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Little Flower in Girls School in north Belfast.
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Belfast Boys Model in north Belfast. Rory Strapp
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Dominican College in north Belfast. Twins(L-R) Kathryn and Olivia McCloskey
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Bloomfield Collegiate n east Belfast. L-R Victoria Bates and Abbie Hearte
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Campbell College in east Belfast. Chris Heath
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Belfast Boys Model in north Belfast
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Belfast Boys Model in north Belfast
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Belfast Boys Model in north Belfast. Ian Smith.
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Belfast Boys Model in north Belfast
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Bloomfield Collegiate n east Belfast. Lauren McDonald
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Little Flower in Girls School in north Belfast.
Northern Ireland- 15th August 2014 Picture by Jonathan Porter/Presseye.com A Level results out across Northern ireland. Belfast Boys Model in north Belfast. Nevin Martin
Bloomfield Collegiate, east Belfast.
Pupils from Victoria College in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pupils from Lumen Christi College in Derry who are celebrating after receiving their A Level results. Picture Martin McKeown. Inpresspics.com.
Ross Neill 3A Stars from from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast and will going to study Law at Christ College at Cambridge . Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Head Boy Jack Walker,Head Girl Chloe McMaster, deputy head Gareth Thompson, deputy head Rachel Cullen and deputy head Andrew Wright from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Little Flower Girls School in north Belfast.
Little Flower Girls School
Dominican College in north Belfast.
Dominican College in north Belfast.
Dominican College in north Belfast. Twins(L-R) Kathryn and Olivia McCloskey
Dominican College in north Belfast.
Bloomfield Collegiate School, east Belfast. Victoria Bates and Abbie Hearte
A delighted Hannagh Kennedy a pupil at Coleraine High School phones home after getting 3 A* in her A Level results. Hannagh who is 18 is going to Glasgow to study medicine.
Belfast Boys Model in north Belfast.
Belfast Boys Model in north Belfast

Kathryn said: "It's the first time we will be apart. I'm scared about that but we have modern technology to keep us in touch."

While the St Dominic's (Belfast) pupils went to school to receive their results, hundreds of students from here logged in online from 52 countries around the world to learn their grades, including Zambia, Slovakia, Kuwait, Honduras, Brazil, Bangladesh, Cyprus, Peru, New Zealand, Moldova, Barbados, Kenya, and China. So it would appear Northern Ireland does have a world class education system.

Video: Education Minister John O’Dowd visits Newry High School students as they get their A-level results 

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