Derry A level students shine

Thornhill College principal Marguerite Hamilton with high achieving A- Level pupils, from left, Aisling Taggart, Niamh Furey, Deirdre McAteer, Aoife Lorenc and Grainne Baker. (1708PG55)

Thornhill College principal Marguerite Hamilton with high achieving A- Level pupils, from left, Aisling Taggart, Niamh Furey, Deirdre McAteer, Aoife Lorenc and Grainne Baker. (1708PG55)

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School principals were queuing up today to pay tribute to the work of their students as the A-Levels results across Derry once again brought to light an impressive level of achievement for many - as well as some disappointed faces.

At Foyle College principal Jack Magill revealed that three pupils had achieved four A*, the highest result in a subject, and another had got three.

Thornhill College principal Marguerite Hamilton and staff members with some of the school's high achieving A-Level students who received their results yesterday. (1708PG56)

Thornhill College principal Marguerite Hamilton and staff members with some of the school's high achieving A-Level students who received their results yesterday. (1708PG56)

He told the Journal; “We’re never under a great deal of pressure at Foyle on results day. The pupils, as always, have done us proud - only three youngsters slipped a grade. Today the discussion centered more on halls of residence places than on University courses.”

Marguerite Hamilton, Principal of Thornhill College, said; “We’re asolutely delighted to announce that 96% of our students have achieved three or more A*-C grades at A Level, and that 76% of these excellent results were achieved at A*-B. This is a very impressive achievement.”

‘Top Student’ this time around was Creggan’s Grainne Baker. The teenager achieved five A Levels and two AS levels at A*/A grade, a performance which amassed a staggering 800 UCAS points. Grainne has already secured a place at Oxford University, thanks to her Greek, Latin, History, French and Maths A-Level results and AS Levels in Further Maths and Irish.

Mrs. Hamilton said; “These excellent results reflect the consistent hard work and dedication of students, teachers and parents.

“The majority of our students have already confirmed places at their first choice universities. The school community is proud of their success and we wish them every blessing at the next stage of their journey.”

Commenting on the results achieved at St. Joseph’s Creggan, principal Mr Damien Harkin said; “The whole school community takes great delight in seeing our students achieve their goals through hard work and commitment to their studies. I hope they continue to build on their accomplishments as they embark on the next stage of their education and career, confident in their ability to succeed.

“On the pupil’s behalf I want to thank our staff for the tremendous work and effort they give in support of their students. They have nurtured their talent, challenged them, raised their confidence and encouraged them to believe in themselves at every juncture on their road to success.”

For many of those students the debate will switch from exam stress to securing a place on a university course and how to finance those studies.

Mark Durkan, SDLP MP for Foyle, called on the NI Assembly to grant extra funding to University of Ulster Magee campus in order to provide additional places. “With the issue of tuition fees weighing heavily on the minds of students and parents, today’s results once again highlight the need for the Executive to revisit the decision to decline an extra 1,000 places for Magee.

“Results day is not an easy time for any student and some may find that their grades unfortunately do not match their expectations. It is important to note that university is not the only option. People should contact their careers advisors to explore the many possibilities still open to them, not least the good offering from regional colleges, who also need to be supported by government in the choice and access they can offer young people.”

Across the North a total of 98.1% of grades awarded were from A* to E, just as in 2011.