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GCSE results: Northern Ireland students outperform rest of UK

Northern Ireland students have outperformed the rest of the UK in terms of top GCSE grades.

The proportion of Northern Ireland pupils achieving grades from A*-C has increased by half a percent, with almost a tenth of entries being awarded an A*.

The proportion of entries awarded A* - C grades has risen to 79.1%. Entries achieving A* - A have improved 0.5% to 29.1%, and entries achieving the top A* grade now sit at 9.3%, a slight rise of 0.3% on last year.

This is higher than the average across England, Wales and Northern Ireland, were 66.9% of entries achieved A* to C grades.

Females continue to perform better than males in GCSE examinations, with 82.9% of all female entries gaining the A* - C grades (up 0.7 percentage points on last year). Male entries achieving A*- C grades also improved to 75.3%, up 0.2 percentage points on 2015. The gap between Female and Male performance at A*- C has widened by 0.5 percentage points.

The total number of entries in GCSE examinations in Northern Ireland has fallen from 171,325 in 2015 to 161,975 in 2016, a drop of 5.5%. The entry decline was anticipated, given the 5% drop in the pupil cohort.

Entries for STEM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) have grown by 0.3% in Northern Ireland. This growth means STEM subjects here account for close to one third (31.9%) of all GCSE entries.

The increase in STEM entries is being driven by Biology (up 3.4%), Chemistry (up 1.7%) and Computing (up 106%). There were decreases in the percentage of the overall entry taking Design and Technology (down 7.7%), ICT (down 4.6%) and Physics (down 3%).

Languages entries have declined by 3.7% in Northern Ireland. French entries declined by 6.4%, Spanish entries declined by 3.8% and Irish entries decreased by 4%. German increased by 11.3%. today, up on last year's 5,429,478.

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