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Catholic non-grammars top GCSE results table in north

-- Generated by XStandard version on 2008-07-23T12:26:03 --pbr /23/07/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Irish News/ppContinuing a special report on school exam performance, The Irish News has compiled a list of non-grammar schools who scored the best GCSE grades last year./ppPupils at Catholic secondary schools are continuing to outperform their peers in other sectors, new statistics reveal./ppMost of the non-grammar schools with the best GCSE results in Northern Ireland last year were Catholic managed./ppIt was a similar picture yesterday when The Irish News published a list of top-performing grammars, using data published by the government./ppHowever, while A-level results were used to compare grammar schools GCSEs have been used for a list of non-grammars today./ppIt features the most up-to-date Department of Education figures, from the 2006/07 school year./ppIn total there are 157 non-grammar schools across Northern Ireland, almost all of which do not use academic criteria to select pupils./ppThe 50 with the highest proportion of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C are shown./ppAccording to the departments figures the average across Northern Ireland was 45 per cent, slightly higher than the previous year./ppWhere two or more schools had the same percentage the proportion of pupils achieving two or more /ppA-levels at grades A to E was used as a tie breaker - the Northern Ireland average for those which offered A-levels was 94 per cent./ppThe list names only the schools that achieved the highest proportion of good GCSE grades - this year 51 are included, due to some achieving identical results./ppHowever, every schools results was examined prior to the table being compiled./ppOf those listed 30 are Catholic, 12 are non-Catholic and the remaining nine are integrated./ppThe list does not intend to suggest that one school is better than another or that academic performance - particularly in non-grammars - should be the sole criteria for judging the quality of education on offer. Results also fluctuate from year to year./ppSchool performance lists were compiled and published annually by the Department of Education until the practice was abolished by Martin McGuinness during the first period of devolution./ppHowever, the direct rule government later began publishing individual schools results again online./ppOf the 157 non-grammar schools, four are permitted to use 11-plus results to select some of their first year pupils./ppUnsurprisingly, all four feature in the list - St Patricks College in Maghera, Slemish College in Ballymena, Lagan College in south Belfast, and Strabanes Holy Cross - which all have grammar as well as non-grammar streams./ppSt Catherines College, Armagh, an all-abilities school formed through the amalgamation of Sacred Heart Grammar School and Sacred Heart Intermediate School, topped this years list./ppA total of 81 per cent of its pupils achieved five good GCSEs, helping the school move up a place for the second successive year./ppSt Patricks, Maghera, which is described by the department as a co-ed comprehensive college, scored the second best results, with 81 per cent also achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A* to C last year./ppWhile this bettered its table-topping performance of 2005/06 when 73 per cent achieved five good GCSEs, St Catherines enjoyed slightly better A-level results this year./ppThe GCSE performances of these two colleges was almost as good as some grammar schools./ppSt Johns Business and Enterprise College in Dromore, Co Tyrone, is placed third with 80 per cent, followed by St Cecilias in Derry 77 and St Patricks High in Keady, Co Armagh 75./ppThe standard among the top five schools was higher than last year, when the leading schools each achieved between 70 and 73 per cent./ppThere were also some notable rises among some of the norths first specialist schools./ppSt Johns in Dromore began offering expert tuition in business in September 2006./ppIn the two years prior to this, just 32 and 31 per cent of pupils achieved five good GCSEs but at the end of its first specialist year a massive 80 per cent of its 200 pupils reached this standard./ppThere was also a second successive rise up The Irish News list for St Cecilias in Derry, a science specialist where almost half the children are receiving free school meals./ppIts score has risen from 50 to 62 to 77 per cent in the last three years./ppSperrin Integrated College in Magherafelt, which opened in 2002, appears on the list for the first time 64 per cent - last year was the first time the school entered pupils for GCSEs./pp#160;/p Back

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