General Teaching Council Northern Ireland

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GCSE students jump for joy at exam success


22/08/2008 :: Northern Ireland :: The Belfast Telegraph

Students across Northern Ireland who received their GCSE results yesterday have performed better than pupils from last year.

There has been an increase in the percentage of entries achieving the top A* grade, rising from 8.2% to 8.9%, and entries gaining grades A*-C have increased by 2.1% to 74.5%. Once again students here outperformed their English and Welsh peers.

This year's entry figure has decreased by 2.6% to 192,360, continuing the overall downward trend linked to falling pupil numbers. However, there has been a significant increase in the number of entries for Applied GCSEs.

Last week it emerged that the Northern Ireland A-level pass rate had increased for the 26th year in a row.

CCEA's Director of Qualifications, Anne Marie Duffy, said: "Northern Ireland GCSE students continue to excel and should be proud of the results they have produced this year."

Margaret McGuigan, from Careers Service Northern Ireland, said it was important for students to make well-informed decisions about what to do next.

"Options include staying on at school to do A-levels, going to a further education college and going into employment," she said.

"This can be a very anxious time for young people and their parents as they often have to make decisions fairly quickly.

"If you do not get the grades you wanted don't panic or make hasty decisions. There will be an option that will suit you.

"The Careers Service can talk you through your options and help you to make an informed decision."

Education Minister Caitriona Ruane said: "Congratulations to all involved in achieving these excellent results and the teachers and parents who inspired and motivated our young students.

"However, while overall these are excellent results, too many young people are leaving education without five GCSEs. That is one of the reasons why I have a number of reforms under way to improve the education system."

Employment and Learning Minister Sir Reg Empey said: "If you did not achieve the results you had hoped for, today is not a day to panic, as there are many other opportunities available to you and I would urge you to examine these fully."

Young people who experience emotional distress in the wake of yesterday's results can also access counselling support through a dedicated telephone helpline.

Lifeline, a free telephone counselling service funded by the Department of Health, Social Services and Public Safety and operated by Contact Youth, is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week on Freephone 0808 808 8000.



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