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Ministers welcome GCSE results

Education Minister, John O’Dowd and Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry, today congratulated young people on this year’s GCSE results.

The Education Minister visited Lagan College and St Genevieve’s High School in Belfast and met with pupils as they collected their results.

He 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.

“There will be some who may not have received the grades they had hoped for. My advice to these young people is not to panic. There are a number of services available to help support and guide students on the next steps.

“Those staying on at school will be able to access a much wider range of courses than might previously have been the case. The Entitlement Framework, which becomes statutory in the coming school term, ensures all students at post-16, regardless of where they study, can access a minimum of 21 courses, both general and applied with clear progression routes to further and higher education, training and employment.

“Sixth form students will now have access to a much broader and more balanced range of courses to help meet their needs and interests and prepare them for life and the world of work.”

The key headlines from this year’s results are as follows:

· 76.5% of entries at GCSE here achieved grades A*-C, a slight increase from 75.6% in 2012.

· 68.8% of entries in English and 64.6% in mathematics showed increases of 0.6 and 1.7 percentage points respectively.

· At the top grades, A*-A, was awarded to 28.0% of entrants, a slight increase from 27.9% in 2012.

· The A* grade was awarded to 8.7% of entrants compared to 8.9% in 2012.

· The overall pass rate has increased slightly with 99.2% of grades awarded at A*-G. Last year the pass rate was 99.0%.

The Minister continued: “The fact that so many young people are achieving good examination grades is pleasing news; however we cannot rest on our laurels. We are working hard to cut the number of young people leaving school without achieving five good GCSEs including English and maths. That number has fallen in recent years but is still too high, with 8,576 young people leaving school without reaching this level of attainment last year. Tackling this continuing issue will be a focus for me in the coming years.”

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry said: “The importance of making an informed decision following exam results is imperative to effective career planning. Taking time now to explore options will pay dividends in the future. If you did not achieve the results you expected, be they better or worse than anticipated, there are many other opportunities available to you and I would urge you to examine these fully. My Department’s Careers Service can help you unlock your potential.

“Careers Advisers are located across Northern Ireland and offer professional, impartial advice and guidance on the options available. Careful consideration should be given to these as they are the first step towards achieving a fulfilling career. I would urge you all to visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/results for a wealth of useful information and the location of your nearest careers adviser or, alternatively, you can call 0300 200 7820.

“Northern Ireland’s further education colleges also offer you the opportunity to study from a wide range of full-time courses to suit your career path, with options including ‘A’ Levels, GCSE, NVQ and Apprenticeships. You may want to consider an apprenticeship, where you have the opportunity to develop specialist skills, using new technology, giving you the chance to earn while you learn and gain qualifications that are recognised worldwide. Training for Success can also provide you with an opportunity to gain the skills necessary for employment, letting you enter at the level that matches your needs, develops your employability skills and allows you to gain nationally recognised qualifications.”

For those with queries on any issues relating to their exam results e.g. appeals; remarks; re-sits, contact your exam centre or the CCEA helpline on 028 9026 1260 or email helpline@ccea.org.uk.

Notes to editors:

1. All available statistics are provisional and are subject to appeals and re-marks.

2. Figures cover all candidates, irrespective of the examining body for the examinations.

3. The Department of Education's ‘Education Works’ campaign encourages families to play, talk, read and count with their child and to ‘Get Involved Because Education Works’. The campaign highlights the vital role families can play in helping children do well at school and improve their life chances. Visit http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/education-works for more information.

Watch the TV ad on the Department’s YouTube channel: http://www.youtube.com/thedeptofeducation

4. See photos from the Department of Education in our collection at http://www.flickr.com/niexecutive

Belfast Telegraph