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New award scheme gets top marks

06-07-2007

New award scheme gets top marks

06/07/2007 The Belfast Telegraph

Year 10 pupils at an Ulster secondary school have participated in a new award scheme designed to demonstrate academic achievement throughout the year.

The Royal School Dungannon students have been awarded with certificates as part of the school's Transitional Certificate of Education (TCE), which ran in the school for the first time this year.

School principal Paul Hewitt said the idea behind the scheme is to help parents gauge the academic progress of their children as they move from Key Stage Three to Four, while giving pupils a much needed reward for their efforts.

And he said he intends to contact the Education Minister Caitriona Ruane as well as the Chief Inspector of Schools to inform them of the success of the scheme at the school.

Thirteen pupils achieved the gold award, 20 achieved silver and 25 bronze awards.

The different TCE awards were gained by the pupils who obtained the greatest number of distinctions - for the top 20% of the year in each subject - and for credits - the next 25% of the year in each subject.

Awards were also given to pupils who adequately completed the year's study in a subject.

Mr Hewitt said: "Whilst we live in an era of over-assessment of older pupils, we have felt for some time that Key Stage 3 tests were not adequate for the needs and morale of our high-achieving pupils.

"We also felt strongly that a pupil's performance in all subjects, and not just English, science and maths, was important.

"We have therefore developed this TCE award scheme to properly motivate, reward and acknowledge our pupils' academic successes and progress and to inform parents better of how their children are really doing. In a sense, we have re-invented the old Junior Certificate for the 21st century.

"It should probably never have been abolished but our pupils today, as well as their parents, have been able to see again the fruits of their hard efforts over three years of secondary school education. It is a simple and effective way of achieving these fundamental goals.

"The TCE in turn will provide a better platform and incentive to pupils tackling GCSEs."

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