Fantastic results for local A-Level students

Fantastic results for local A-Level students

22 August 2018

LOCAL A-Level students have proven to be amongst the best in Northern Ireland once more with another year of excellent results.

Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch was the top performing school with 94% of its students achieving A*-C grades.

St Patrick’s Grammar School in Downpatrick had 90% of its Year 14 students achieve the top four grades while Down High School reported that 21 of its students achieved at least three A or A* grades.

Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle and St Malachy’s High School in Castlewellan also reported impressive results, with 85% and 84% of their students respectively gaining A*-C grades.

Students at St Colman’s High and Sixth Form College in Ballynahinch achieved a 77% success rate gaining the four top grades. 

South Eastern Regional College, De La Salle High School and St Mary’s High School in Downpatrick are also celebrating many of their students gaining three passes at A*-C grades.

The local results can be seen in comparison to the 98.2% of all students who received A*-E grades as announced by examination body, the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA). 

Top performing student was Erin Fitzsimons-West from Assumption Grammar who achieved five A* grades in Chemistry, Biology, Physics, Mathematics and Further Mathematics. She has secured a place at Cambridge University to study Medicine.

Down High’s William Browne and Victoria Clarke each received four A*s grades while 11 St Patrick’s Grammar School students got three A*-A grades, as did Kirsty Burrows, Lewis McQuaid, Carys Mitchell and Michaela Valentine from St Malachy’s.

This year’s Northern Ireland results were marked by boys narrowly outperforming girls in attaining A* grades for the first time.

St Patrick’s principal Joe McCann said: “In keeping with the NI trend of improving outcomes for boys, 11 students achieved 3A grades or better. 

“Among the top students, Fintan Canavan, Daniel Napier and Ruadri Cunningham have secured places to study Medicine while Daniel Coyle will read Law at QUB’. 

“Not only are students celebrating their A-Level results but they were also celebrating gaining entry to their chosen university places and Business and ICT apprenticeships.”

Peter Dobbin, principal of Assumption Grammar, said he was “thrilled” with this year’s results.

“These results secure Assumption Grammar’s place as one of the top performing grammar schools in Northern Ireland for academic performance at A-Level.”

He added: “I never cease to be amazed by the academic achievements of our students alongside many other accolades in extra-curricular areas. The parents of this year’s A-Level students should be duly proud of all they have achieved and be confident that they will enter the next stage of their life fully equipped to take on new challenges.“

Maud Perry, principal of Down High, said the results were the best the school had seen in five years and reflected the success of the school’s expanded Sixth Form as the A2 grades represented a 13% increase on the student’s AS results.

She said that  21 Year 14 students secured at least three A or  A* grades while over a third of all grades in the school were A* or A.

“At Down High, we value not just the academic ability of our students, but also their intellectual growth and this is augmented by the excellent relationships, based on mutual respect, that exist in our classrooms,” she added.

Mrs Perry added that one of the most pleasing aspects of the school’s excellent performance was the fact that many of the students who joined Down High School for sixth form study have done so well. 

“Among them, David Anderson, Jenny Courtney, Jack Hanna, Elizabeth Martin and Joel Scott leave Down High with ten A grades or BTEC Distinctions between them.”

Shimna College principal Kevin Lambe congratulated his students on their terrific results, saying many students are heading to Queen’s University Belfast and the University of Ulster, Dublin and throughout England and Scotland.

He added: “Our students have achieved straight As and A*s and every other combination of grades, and I am particularly proud that our students have achieved this standard of excellence in an Integrated, all-ability context. Students achieve their best with the support of their families and our dedicated staff, all of us working together.”

South Eastern Regional College in Downpatrick reported that many of its students achieved the equivalent of three A grades or higher at A-Level. 

Celebrating two years of hard work was manufacturing engineering student Adam Dorrian from Ballykinlar. 

Adam said: “I am over the moon. I’ve got three Distinction stars. I’ve enjoyed my time at SERC, I got the chance to work on projects for real businesses and my lecturers have been a great help over the past two years”.

Adam now plans to study an HND in Engineering at the college in the hope of starting a career in the aerospace industry.

Another student who exceeded her expectations was Shannon Valentine from Castlewellan. Shannon achieved three distinction stars in the level 3 Extended Diploma in Health and Social Care.

A former pupil of St. Malachy’s High School, Shannon said: “The learning style at school wasn’t for me. SERC is a fantastic place to study and far more enjoyable than school. It’s a better style of teaching which suited me perfectly.”

Shannon is now progressing to Ulster University to study adult nursing.

St Malachy’s High School in Castlewellan “surpassed all benchmarks and exceeding all targets set”.

Principal Orla McNeill said: “As an all-ability school, we are extremely proud of their achievements – they are up there with the best, yet again. 

“The students hold true the values that make St Malachy’s a winning team. These values underpin all the work we do. 

“Congratulations also to our past ‘A’ Level students who graduated this summer with many attaining first class honours.  We wish them and our wonderful A2 students continued success in the next stage of their educational journey.”

Mark Morgan, principal of St Colman’s High and Sixth Form College, said the school was  delighted with it’s 100% A-Level achievement this year. 

“Overall, 77% of pupils were awarded A*-C grades in all A-Levels studied,” he said.

Many pupils achieved fantastic results; of particular note are the following high achievers who were awarded three A*-A grades: Kirsty Burrows, Lewis McQuaid, Carys Mitchell and Michaela Valentine.

De La Salle High School in Downpatrick reports that while many of its students had already been accepted on the university UCAS system, there was still some trepidation.

Principal Ciaran Maguire said: “Confidence was high among the teaching staff as this year;s group and the current Post 16 group had shown great signs all through their time at De La Salle. The big problem now is what courses to accept at uni.

“The staff of De La Salle wish pupils and their families all the very best for the future, with the message of ‘we are still here if you  need us’”.

St Mary’s High School principal Sheila Darling said that her students were to be congratulated for their “fantastic results” at AS and A2 Level.

“Students with the support of teachers, parents and their extended families achieved 100% pass rage in A-Level courses. Well done.”