SLIDESHOW: Gold star for GCSE performance

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The head of the north’s GCSE awards body has praised the efforts of local students after a rise in the number obtaining top grades.

Schools in the north west have reported strong results across the board this year, and this seems to have been reflected across the north.

Justin Edwards, Chief Executive of the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) said that overall, the proportion of entries awarded A* to C grades has risen by 0.4% to 79.1% overall.

Mr Edwards said: “We’re pleased to see that learners here continue to perform well in GCSE examinations.

“There is steady improvement across the grades, reflecting the continuing focus and hard work in our schools and colleges.”

He added: “The strong performance in English and the individual sciences is of particular note, building on the improvements seen in recent years.”

A* to C performance in mathematics however has fallen by 1.7% to 64.9%.

Analysis of the data shows that, for 16 year olds, performance in mathematics was stable, with a small decline of 0.2% from 2015.

“It also worth noting that, despite the fall this year, Northern Ireland is almost 4% points ahead of the full UK A* to C performance in mathematics,” Mr Edwards said.

Females continue to outperform males at GCSE and the gap, for A*-C grades achieved has widened this year by half a percentage point to 7.6%.

Whilst A*- C performance for both males and females has continued to rise since 2006, girls and women have improved their performance at a faster and more consistent rate.

“This year we’ve seen continued growth in entries for STEM (Science, Technology, Computing, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects,” Mr Edwards said.

He added: “STEM subjects here now account for close to one third (31.9%) of all GCSE entries.”