General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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Fewer children leave school without a single exam pass


02/06/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News

The proportion of school leavers achieving two or more A-levels or at least five good GCSEs has increased in the past five years, new figures show.

Fewer children left school without a single exam pass, according to data published by the Statistics and Research Agency.

In the 2006-07 school year, 44.6 per cent of students achieved two or more A-levels, up from 39 per cent in 2001-02.

There was a similar rise in the percentage of pupils scoring five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C - it went from 58.7 per cent to 64.9 per cent.

Girls continued to outperform boys at A-level while Catholic managed schools achieved better results than non-Catholic schools.

The figures also showed:

- more pupils chose to continue their studies in either university or at a further education college

- the proportion of pupils unemployed after leaving school decreased

- twice as many boys left school with no GCSEs or equivalent compared to girls.

Education minister Caitriona Ruane welcomed the statistics but emphasised the need to build on the success achieved by many in the system.

"I am pleased to see the excellent performance of our pupils reflected in some encouraging results overall," she said.

"The strong showing by many children can be attributed to the dedication of the staff in their schools, the support from parents and of course the hard work of the young people themselves.

"Despite the excellent results at the top end, however, there are still large numbers of young people leaving school with poorly developed literacy and numeracy skills and not in a position to compete in the labour market."

Ms Ruane said she was committed to tackling this problem and was engaged in a programme of reform to ensure that all children could make the most of the educational opportunities available to them.

"I am overseeing the phased roll-out of the revised curriculum which will help pupils develop the skills they need for life and work and give schools the flexibility to tailor what they teach to meet pupils' needs," she said.

"Alongside this, the implementation of the entitlement framework will increase the range of courses young people can study from the age of 14.

"This will widen horizons in the education system and provide opportunities currently not available to many children."



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