Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 28 January 2015

Exams: Thousands of students across Northern Ireland receive GCSE results

Education Minister John O'Dowd and Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry who congratulated St Genevieve's High School pupils Stephen Hare, Jacinta Hamley and David Beattie on their GCSE results.  Picture by Brian  Morrison.
Education Minister John O'Dowd and Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry who congratulated St Genevieve's High School pupils Stephen Hare, Jacinta Hamley and David Beattie on their GCSE results. Picture by Brian Morrison.
Education Minister John O'Dowd and Employment and Learning Minister Dr Stephen Farry who congratulated Lagan College pupils Stephen Hare, Jacinta Hamley and David Beattie on their GCSE results. Picture by Brian Morrison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11 GCSE grades. Pictured Jessica Steele and Emma Carson. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11A to A Star GCSE grades. Pictured (L-R) Emma Ludlow, Emma Wright, Sophie Johnston, Emma Invine, Amy Hamilton and Shannon Bingham. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11A to A Star GCSE grades. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11A to a Star GCSE grades. Pictured Tom ONeill,Daniel Beattie,David Thompson,Mark Vincent,Gareth Thompson and Chris Purdy. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11 GCSE grades. Pictured Jessica Steele and Emma Carson. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11 GCSE grades. Pictured (L-R) Emma Carson, Zoe Harrison, sara Adams and Matthew Carson. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11A to A Star GCSE grades. Pictured (L-R) Sarah Whitcroft, Covrtney Wallace, Eve McLelland and Zara Holmes. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11A to A Star GCSE grades. Pictured (L-R) Emma Ludlow, Emma Wright, Sophie Johnston, Emma Invine, Amy Hamilton and Shannon Bingham. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11A to A Star GCSE grades. . Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Pacemaker Press Belfast 22-08-2013: GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year. The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades. Students from Grosvenor Grammar School in Belfast pictured celebrating after achieving 11A to A Star GCSE grades. Picture By: Arthur Allison.
Two sets of twins (left to right) Minnie Crawley, Tallulah Crawley, Florence Hislop and Dorothy Hislop open their GCSE results at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple in Bristol.
(left to right) Minnie and Tallulah Crawley, Florence and Dorothy Hislop, George and Sam Price and Marcus and Charlotte Hook, open their GCSE results at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple in Bristol.
Twins Minnie (left) and Tallulah Crawley open their GCSE results at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple in Bristol.
Two sets of twins (left to right) Minnie Crawley, Tallulah Crawley, Florence Hislop and Dorothy Hislop open their GCSE results at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple in Bristol.
Hannah Marks (left) and Zoe Halford celebrate their GCSE results at Brighton College in Brighton, East Sussex, as students across the country receive their results.
Isabella Soames, great grand-daughter of Sir Winston Churchill, celebrates achieving GCSE grades of 11 A*'s at Brighton College in Brighton, East Sussex, as students across the country receive their results.
Isabella Soames, great grand-daughter of Sir Winston Churchill, celebrates achieving GCSE grades of 11 A*'s at Brighton College in Brighton, East Sussex, as students across the country receive their results. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE Brighton. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Hannah Marks (left) and Zoe Halford celebrate their GCSE results at Brighton College in Brighton, East Sussex, as students across the country receive their results. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Hannah Marks (left) and Zoe Halford celebrate their GCSE results at Brighton College in Brighton, East Sussex, as students across the country receive their results. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Isabella Soames, great grand-daughter of Sir Winston Churchill, celebrates achieving GCSE grades of 11 A*'s at Brighton College in Brighton, East Sussex, as students across the country receive their results. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE Brighton. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
(From left to right) Jasmin Khanom, Pinar Yagmur, Nerin Khanom, Imran Chowdhury, Natmol Chowdhury and Tereque Alom, friends of murdered schoolboy Ajmol Alom, wait to receive their GCSE results at Langdon Park School, in Poplar east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. The would-be doctor who was murdered in an apparently unprovoked stabbing achieved top grades in his GCSEs, his teacher has revealed. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE Ajmol. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire
Imran Chowdhury and Pinar Yagmur, friends of murdered schoolboy Ajmol Alom, receive their GCSE results at Langdon Park School, in Poplar east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. The would-be doctor who was murdered in an apparently unprovoked stabbing achieved top grades in his GCSEs, his teacher has revealed. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE Ajmol. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire
Imran Chowdhury and Pinar Yagmur, friends of murdered schoolboy Ajmol Alom, receive their GCSE results at Langdon Park School, in Poplar east London. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. The would-be doctor who was murdered in an apparently unprovoked stabbing achieved top grades in his GCSEs, his teacher has revealed. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE Ajmol. Photo credit should read: Lewis Whyld/PA Wire
Isabella Soames, great grand-daughter of Sir Winston Churchill, celebrates achieving GCSE grades of 11 A*'s at Brighton College in Brighton, East Sussex, as students across the country receive their results. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE Brighton. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Chloe Warren celebrates after getting eleven GCSE grades A-C at the Colonel Frank Seely School in Calverton, Nottinghamshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. The 16 year old battled through her exams with a broken back and had to be taken to school in a wheelchair. Despite wearing a back brace, she managed to sit through 18 exams. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE Brace. Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Becky Robinson reacts after getting her GCSE results at Colonel Frank Seely School, Calverton, Nottinghamshire. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE . Photo credit should read: Rui Vieira/PA Wire
Students open their GCSE results at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple in Bristol. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
Florence Hislop (second right) and Charlotte Penn (right) open their GCSE results at St Mary Redcliffe and Temple in Bristol. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 22, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION GCSE. Photo credit should read: Tim Ireland/PA Wire
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: A student at the Ridings' Federation Winterbourne International Academy reviews her GCSE results on August 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. As hundreds of thousands of students opened their GCSE results today it has emerged that the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has suffered its biggest fall in the exam's 25-year history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Students at the Ridings' Federation Winterbourne International Academy review their GCSE results on August 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. As hundreds of thousands of students opened their GCSE results today it has emerged that the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has suffered its biggest fall in the exam's 25-year history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Students Amelia Church (L) and Hannah Clark (C) open their GCSE results outside the Ridings' Federation Winterbourne International Academy on August 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. As hundreds of thousands of students opened their GCSE results today it has emerged that the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has suffered its biggest fall in the exam's 25-year history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: A student at the Ridings' Federation Winterbourne International Academy opens his GCSE results on August 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. As hundreds of thousands of students opened their GCSE results today it has emerged that the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has suffered its biggest fall in the exam's 25-year history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Lubabah Kauser and Summan Mazhar review their GCSE results outside the Ridings' Federation Winterbourne International Academy on August 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. As hundreds of thousands of students opened their GCSE results today it has emerged that the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has suffered its biggest fall in the exam's 25-year history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Lubabah Kauser opens her GCSE results outside the Ridings' Federation Winterbourne International Academy on August 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. As hundreds of thousands of students opened their GCSE results today it has emerged that the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has suffered its biggest fall in the exam's 25-year history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
BRISTOL, ENGLAND - AUGUST 22: Students at the Ridings' Federation Winterbourne International Academy celebrate after opening their GCSE results on August 22, 2013 in Bristol, England. As hundreds of thousands of students opened their GCSE results today it has emerged that the proportion of GCSEs awarded at least a C grade has suffered its biggest fall in the exam's 25-year history. (Photo by Matt Cardy/Getty Images)
FLASHBACK: Students receiving their A-level results at Ballymena Academy earlier this month
Student Andrew Jonathan O'Neill, celebrates after receiving with four A stars at Ballymena Academy in County Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Ulster. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Students (left to right) Taylor McClintock, Rebecca Buick, Natalie Lamont and Kathryn McWhirter celebrate after receiving their results at Ballymena Academy in County Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Ulster. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
India Dhadra celebrates grades of A, A, and C at Brighton College in East Sussex as students receive their A Levels results across the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Hannah Short celebrates grades of A*, A and B at Brighton College in East Sussex as students receive their A Levels results across the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Students receive their A-level results at Chelmsford County High for Girls, Chelmsford, Essex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Students Eloise Davies (left) from Good Easter, who gained four A*'s and one A and Jessie Moxom from Brentwood, who gained three A*'s and two A's and are both going to Cambridge University, celebrate receiving their A-level results at Chelmsford County High for Girls, Chelmsford, Essex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Tom Woodward celebrates with friends on receiving 1 A* and 2 As after having treatment for cancer during his exams at Brighton College in East Sussex as students receive their A Levels results across the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Brighton. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
A student holds her results at Brighton College in East Sussex as students receive their A Levels results across the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Nino Harris, 19, from Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, a self-confessed "bad boy" who was forced to retake his first year of A-levels and now has won a place at the University of Oxford. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Harris. Photo credit should read: Ben Kendall/PA Wire
Handout photo of Gem O'Reilly celebrating getting her A-Level results. The 18-year-old has got the grades to go to university, but instead she is having a year out to take a shot at stardom. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday August 15, 2013. The teenager, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, went to Cardinal Langley RC High School before studying A-levels at Rochdale Sixth Form College is passing up studying for an English degree to concentrate on performing and songwriting instead. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Star. Photo credit should read: Lee Boswell/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Handout photo of Gem O'Reilly celebrating getting her A-Level results. The 18-year-old has got the grades to go to university, but instead she is having a year out to take a shot at stardom. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Issue date: Thursday August 15, 2013. The teenager, from Middleton, Greater Manchester, went to Cardinal Langley RC High School before studying A-levels at Rochdale Sixth Form College is passing up studying for an English degree to concentrate on performing and songwriting instead. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Star. Photo credit should read: Lee Boswell/PA Wire NOTE TO EDITORS: This handout photo may only be used in for editorial reporting purposes for the contemporaneous illustration of events, things or the people in the image or facts mentioned in the caption. Reuse of the picture may require further permission from the copyright holder.
Students celebrate their A-level results at Central High School in Jesmond, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Students celebrate their A-level results at Central High School in Jesmond, Newcastle. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Owen Humphreys/PA Wire
Students Jonathan Cushenan and Hannah Cole, celebrate their A levels results outside Ballymena Academy in County Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Ulster. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Students celebrate after receiving their results at Ballymena Academy in County Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Ulster. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Students celebrate after receiving their results at Ballymena Academy in County Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Ulster. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Student Andrew Jonathan O'Neill, points at his results after receiving four A stars at Ballymena Academy in County Antrim. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels Ulster. Photo credit should read: Paul Faith/PA Wire
Megan Larner celebrates grades of A*, A, and B at Brighton College in East Sussex as students receive their A Levels results across the country. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Gareth Fuller/PA Wire
Student Eloise Davies from Good Easter, who will be studying History at Cambridge University, after gaining four A*'s and one A at Chelmsford County High for Girls, Chelmsford, Essex. PRESS ASSOCIATION Photo. Picture date: Thursday August 15, 2013. See PA story EDUCATION Alevels. Photo credit should read: Nick Ansell/PA Wire
Thousands of students across Northern Ireland received their GCSE results this morning

Thousands of students across Northern Ireland have received their GCSE results - with the region's pupils posting strong performances in English and maths.

But the proportion earning A*s fell slightly to 8.7%, compared with 8.9% last year, according to the Joint Council for Qualifications.

Girls continue to outperform boys across the grades and this year the gap has widened - a tenth of top grades were awarded to females.

Students took science, technology, engineering and mathematics subjects in increasing numbers but the total of grades for humanities like English literature also rose.

The popularity of GCSEs has increased, with entries rising from 171,354 last year to 176,301.

Director of qualifications Anne Marie Duffy said: "It's very pleasing to see an increase in performance at A* - C across English and mathematics, subjects that provide access to a wide range of courses and routes to employment.

"The STEM subjects continue to attract increased entries and to show a strong performance in terms of grades awarded.

"For the first time since 2007 we've seen an upturn in the number of GCSE entries in Northern Ireland. This is broadly in line with a rise in this year's Year 12 school population and is evidence of the continued value placed on GCSE qualifications."

Almost 33,000 pupils in Northern Ireland were due to receive their GCSE results today.

Northern Ireland exams body the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) is offering, for the first time in many years, additional marks for punctuation, spelling and use of grammar in English literature, history, geography and religion.

Key statistics from today's results included:

:: 76.5% earned grades A*-C this year compared to 75.6% last year.

:: Boys won 6.6% of A*s compared to 7% last year while 10.8% of girls achieved top marks.

:: The proportion of English and mathematics entries awarded A* to C grades this year has risen. English is up 0.6 percentage points to 68.8% and mathematics has risen from 62.9% last year to 64.6%.

:: The proportion of entries awarded A* - C in biology sits at 91.2% (90.0% in 2012), 93.4% in chemistry (93.6% in 2012) and 94.7% in physics (93.7% in 2012).

Rises in the number of entries in biology, chemistry, physics, design and technology, engineering, ICT, mathematics and additional mathematics could indicate students thinking more about their future job prospects.

Humanities subjects were also on the increase, with more grades awarded this year in English literature, history and geography.

In modern languages, Spanish and Irish have again seen rises in the total of entries, while the downward trend for French and German continues. French still attracts the highest number of modern language examinations in Northern Ireland, with 6,250 grades awarded this year.

In England the GCSE system is to be radically reformed in a fresh effort to drive up standards.

Pupils from Northern Ireland who choose an English exam board in 2014 will only be tested at the end of their studies in a system known as a linear GCSE.

Most Northern Ireland students, who use the local exams body the CCEA, will continue to choose either modular or linear.

Stormont education minister John O'Dowd said: "Today is an important day in the lives of the young people receiving their GCSE results. Many of them will decide to continue their studies at school, whether their current school or a new one; others will opt to move into further education; still others will wish to move into training or employment.

"Regardless of what decisions they make, I would like to offer my congratulations to all who received their results this morning on their achievements."

Chris Keates, general secretary of the largest teaching union in Northern Ireland NASUWT, said pupils' success was achieved despite increased turbulence and uncertainty in the examinations system as the Government attempted to justify education reforms.

"Schools and young people need and deserve a stable qualifications structure in which they, the public and employers, can have confidence and they will be looking anxiously to the outcome of the education minister's review of the qualifications system," she said.

"The minister was forced into this review by the unilateral decision of the Secretary of State (Michael Gove) to announce reform of GCSEs in England without any consultation or reference to his ministerial counterparts in Northern Ireland or England.

"It will be critical that he acts to minimise turmoil for schools and young people and demonstrates commitment to and confidence in GCSEs as a world-class qualification."

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