Students celebrate exceptional results

Students celebrate exceptional results

21 August 2019

STUDENTS and schools from across the district have celebrated another year of successful results in A Levels and AS examinations.

There were increased numbers of students, driven mainly by another strong performance by girls, who gained the top grades of A* and A.

Results were announced last Thursday and while students can get their results online, many still come to their school to celebrate with teachers and friends.

For AS students — where the exam represents half of their final A Level grade— the results give an indication of what they might expect to achieve next year. 

Justin Edwards, Chief Executive of the Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA), congratulated all students and said: “Northern Ireland students continue to perform well, with increases across all grades. There was a slight increase in those receiving the A* Grade this year.

“Mathematics remains the most popular A level, with 1 in 10 students studying the subject. The proportion of students taking STEM subjects and Languages has decreased slightly, however STEM subjects continue to account for over one-third of A level entries in NI.”

All four Downpatrick schools offering A Levels said that their students had performed well. 

Down High School said that 97% of its students achieved grade C or higher this year.

Principal Mrs Maud Perry paid tribute to the students and their achievements. “These results are a delightful way for our students to finish their seven years of post-primary education in Down High – or their two years for the large number who joined us in our inclusive sixth form,” she said.

“Twenty-one Year 14 students secured at least three A or A* grades across the large range of subjects offered to post-16 students by the school. Over one third of the year group secured two A grades or better at A-level. There were 128 A* or A grades achieved, meaning that more than one in every 3 grades was an A or A*. Ninety-seven percent of all grades were C or better.”

Mrs Perry said that she was particularly pleased by the results achieved by the many pupils who joined the school in Sixth Form.

She also acknowledged the excellent collaboration between Down High and the South Eastern Regional College, which delivered (in conjunction with some Down High teachers) BTEC Level 3 Subsidiary Diplomas in ICT, Engineering, and Sport. 

“We are delighted by the fact that 88% of the BTEC grades achieved were Distinction* or Distinction, which have A* and A equivalence,” she said. 

Pupils in Year 13 also received their grades last week and twenty-six students achieved three or four A grades in their first year of study, with 133 A grades being attained – one third of all grades awarded.

St Patrick’s Grammar School, which is facing a merger with De La Salle High School and St Mary’s High School next year, reported that 93% of its students achieved grades at A* to C.

Principal Mr Joe McCann said: “Our students are not only celebrating their results today but they are also celebrating gaining entry to their chosen university places; many of our students have secured third level places in Queen’s University Belfast and University of Ulster while others will be travelling to universities in the South of Ireland, Scotland and England.”

Mr McCann also acknowledged the tremendous work done by both students and staff in preparation for the exams and the wonderful successes encountered along the way through extra-curricular and enrichment opportunities. 

Wishing the Class of 2019 luck in their chosen pathways, Mr McCann added: “They are an exceptional group and I am confident that many exciting opportunities lie ahead. Their parents should be very proud of the well-rounded young adults they have become.”

The principal of De La Salle High School said that his students continued to break all records this year.

Mr Ciaran Maguire said that 95% of students at the boys’ school achieved three A Levels at A*- E  with 100% of students having achieved 2 A Level’s A*-C .  

“Expectations were always high for these students and over the past two years they have worked extremely hard with their teachers,” said Mr Maguire. “Decision time now for these boys as to where next, but with results like these ‘the world is their oyster’”.

Mr Maguire spoke of the “proud tradition” of students from St Columba’s College in Portaferry moving to the school and mentioned Emmett Edge who has achieved three A levels at A*-C (100%).  

Single sex school St Mary’s High reported that 100% of students passed their AS and A Levels.

Principal Ms Rosemary McLaughlin congratulated her students. “The success of students in this school is a reflection of their hard work, effort and enthusiasm that they have shown throughout their time in St Mary’s High School, plus 

the dedicated teaching and non-teaching teams that have gone the extra mile in supporting the students,” she said.

Assumption Grammar School in Ballynahinch reported that 100% of its students passed at least two A Levels with almost 93% of all grades at A*-C. 

Principal Mr Peter Dobbin said:  “There were many success stories at an individual level, with students gaining entry to a range of courses at many of the UK and Ireland’s top universities. Notably, Anna White was the top Assumption achiever with a remarkable four A*/A grades at A2 level.

“Academically, our students have surpassed even our highest expectations. Today’s results are proof that our commitment to ensuring every student reaches their full potential remains at the forefront of the Assumption experience.” 

The principal of St Colman’s High School and Sixth Form College in Ballynahinch, Mr Mark Morgan, reported that 64% of its students achieved three A*-C grades this year.

He said: “We are delighted with the 100% A-Level achievement and congratulate students and praised them for their determination, hard work and effort.

“As an over-subscribed co-educational school that caters for pupils aged 11-19 in the heart of the Ballynahinch community, we look forward to welcoming back many students next week to enrol in Post-16 courses.

“We wish a successful future to those students who will be completing courses at university and higher education college, including Queen’s University Belfast, Ulster University, Liverpool John Moore’s University and Belfast Metropolitan College, as well as individuals directly entering employment and Higher Learning Apprenticeships.”

St. Malachy’s High School in Castlewellan said that the current Year 14 students had “achieved wonderful results yet again having surpassed all benchmarks and exceeding all targets set.”

Principal Mrs Orla O’Neill reported that 83% of the A Level students were leaving with three good passes to go on to further study at top universities.

“This is nothing less than we expected from a fabulous group of young people,” she added. “As an all ability school we are extremely proud of their achievements – they are up there with the best, yet again.. We celebrate the potential in everyone, we put our words into action and we provide our students with the opportunities to 

develop their individual goals and aspirations.”

Students of Shimna Integrated College in Newcastle also celebrated their A level results last week as they prepare to head off to Manchester, Dublin, Belfast, Liverpool among other university and college destinations. 

Principal Kevin Lambe said: “Normally we make a particular point of celebrating all our results equally, but this year pride of place must go to Gabriel Corrigan, who achieved four A*s in maths, further maths, physics and chemistry — outstanding results. 

“Of course, success at A Level for all our students is a function of achieving the grades they need to move on to the course and the college where they want to be, and we are delighted that the vast majority of our students are placed very happily at universities and colleges across the country.”