Thousands of students were jumping for joy yesterday as they received their GCSE results across the North West.
Despite UK headlines stating that top results had dipped significantly, Northern Ireland recorded an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades.
Business leaders in Derry said the improvement was great news but appealed to the North’s Executive to take more steps to improve the skills and employability of young people.
Sinead McLaughlin, Chief executive of the local Chamber of Commerce, said: “Young people who have just been given their GCSE results have done very well and deserve enormous praise, along with their teachers and parents.
“However, this is a good time to consider all young people, including those who have not had great success with their GCSEs. Northern Ireland has a bad record for the high number of pupils who leave school without a good spread of GCSEs and in many cases without having the basic skills in English literacy, maths and IT. This weakness has to be overcome to give these young people a good future and to create the skilled workforce that employers need.”
St Mary’s College Principal Marie Lindsay said she was “particularly pleased” with her students’ “fantastic performances” in Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects. “In particular the maths results are superb,” she said.
She added: “Our results have been excellent overall and I’d like to congratulate the girls on their outstanding success. The pupils at St Mary’s have worked their socks off and let’s not forget the staff and the parents who deserve to be congratulated as well,” she added.
St Joseph’s Boys’ School Principal Mr Damien Harkin said St Joseph’s GCSE pupils are set to continue their studies in sixth form “having achieved a very good set of GCSE results”.
“We expect all our pupils to achieve GCSE results that give them the confidence to continue their studies at A level if they so choose and they have done that again this year. “Our sixth form has grown to capacity now and we will be requesting extra places to accommodate all year 12s, who have worked hard for their grades. Congratulations to the boys on their achievements today and to the parents and staff who have supported them to achieve these results,” he said.
In Northern Ireland, 76.5% of exams were awarded an A* to C grade - that is significantly better than the UK picture of 68%.