Belfast Telegraph

Revealed: A-Level league table for Northern Ireland schools 2018

Catholic schools clinch top 10 places in A-level league tables in Northern Ireland

By Rebecca Black

By any measure the performance of Catholic schools in this year's A-level league tables is astonishing. (stock image)
By any measure the performance of Catholic schools in this year's A-level league tables is astonishing. (stock image)

Catholic schools have reasserted their academic dominance by taking every one of the top 10 places in this year's A-level league tables.

Today the Belfast Telegraph publishes its annual must-read guide on the performance of every post-primary school in Northern Ireland.

Northern Ireland A-Level league table 2018

Northern Ireland GCSE league table 2018

According to figures released by the Department of Education and compiled by this newspaper, St Louis Grammar in Ballymena has taken the top spot from St Dominic's, which had been top for two years in a row.

Some 96.5% of pupils at St Louis received three or more top grades at A-level.

The top non-Catholic school in the 2017 A-level results was Wallace High in Lisburn, where 87.1% received three or more A*-C grades, putting it in 11th place.

St Louis principal Sean Rafferty said he was absolutely delighted with his school's achievements.

"With such a large and vibrant sixth form it is always a cause for celebration when so many students can have the opportunity to achieve so highly at A-level stage, with 96.5% achieving A*-C grades, and 88% achieving A*-B grades," he said.

"These are simply phenomenal outcomes and richly deserved.

"In the competitive world we inhabit, the need for confident, articulate and independent thinkers has never been higher, but having top class qualifications goes a long way to ensuring career aspirations can be attained."

St Louis was followed by Lumen Christi College in Londonderry (95.4%) and St Dominic's Grammar School for Girls in west Belfast (92.4%). St Colm's High School in Draperstown was the top non-grammar school, continuing to lead its sector in terms of academic performance at A-level for the second year in a row.

Belfast Boys' Model had a record year for A-level results with 67.2% grades achieved between A*-C, finishing in 77th, up from 113th in the previous year.

Principal Alan Logan said: "We have been on an upward trajectory for a number of years and this is certainly another high. We have to pay credit to the boys who bought into the curriculum we provide and how hard they worked, and the staff who go the extra mile to support the boys who need it. It's been very pleasing to us to see the boys go on to higher education, higher level apprenticeships and foundation degrees."

Performance at A-level in Northern Ireland has risen steadily over the last three years.

Overall, 69% of pupils in the final year of an A-level (or equivalent) course in 2016/17 achieved three or more A-levels at grades A*-C.

This is up from 66.3% in 2015/16 and 64.9% in 2014/15. Figures also show a narrowing of the gap at A-level between grammar and non-grammar schools.

In 2008/09 the gap in achievement of three or more A-levels at grades A*-C was 34 percentage points; however, in 2016/17, the gap had narrowed to 23.1 percentage points.

How our A-level league table was compiled

The Belfast Telegraph is the only source of comprehensive league tables showing the results of every post-primary school in Northern Ireland. We obtained the data from the Department of Education for A-level and GCSE examinations sat in the 2016/17 academic year after a Freedom of Information request and compiled the figures into easy-to-read league tables, ordered from top to bottom. In the A-level league tables we have used the percentage of pupils in the final year of a level 3 course who achieved three A-levels between an A* to C grade in each school as the standard measure.

There are then 33 schools where A-levels were either not sat in 2016/17 or the numbers who sat them were so low that the pupils could be identified if results were published. We have not ranked these schools by number. The Department of Education does not produce A-level or GCSE league tables and has asked us to point out that it does not endorse them.

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