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Education Minister John O'Dowd spent today in the Newry area visiting schools on results day.

Visiting Newry High School and St Paul’s High School in Bessbrook, Education Minister John O’Dowd said: “I would like to offer my best wishes to all those who have received their exam results today.  I know that these results are the culmination of many years’ hard work by pupils, with support from their teachers and families.  I congratulate all involved.

Minister O'Dowd with staff and pupils at Newry High School on A and AS level results day. Picture: Michael Cooper
Minister O'Dowd with staff and pupils at Newry High School on A and AS level results day. Picture: Michael Cooper

“This year, there have been 31,600 entries for A levels, representing a 3.8 percentage point (pp) decrease on last year, however it looks like a short-term decline as entry figures for AS level have increased by 5.2pp to 45,751 this year, the highest entry for AS here since its introduction in 2001.  It is encouraging that more pupils are continuing with their education after the age of 16 and I hope this trend will continue in the coming years.  

Education Minister John O’Dowd with Jarlath Burns, Principal of St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, and pupils (l-r) Shona McCabe, Connor McCrink, Faye Toner, Eileen Muckian, Sarah Jane McCann and Daryll Galloghly who received their A level results  Picture: Michael Cooper
Education Minister John O’Dowd with Jarlath Burns, Principal of St Paul’s High School, Bessbrook, and pupils (l-r) Shona McCabe, Connor McCrink, Faye Toner, Eileen Muckian, Sarah Jane McCann and Daryll Galloghly who received their A level results Picture: Michael Cooper

“The implementation of the Entitlement Framework has opened up a world of choice for pupils sitting A levels.  Every pupil is different and they stand the best chance of succeeding if they follow courses that interest and inspire them.  Pupils here continue to perform particularly well and I am delighted to see STEM subjects such as biology and maths ranking amongst the most popular choices for pupils.

“However, not all pupils will get the results they were hoping for today and I urge those young people not to worry.  Help and advice is available to you and I encourage you to speak to your teachers, careers advisers and parents to discuss your future career or study path.”

Education Minister John O’Dowd with Iestyn Brown, Principal of Newry High School and pupil Sarah Cathers who received her A level results. Picture: Michael Cooper
Education Minister John O’Dowd with Iestyn Brown, Principal of Newry High School and pupil Sarah Cathers who received her A level results. Picture: Michael Cooper

Results at A level remain relatively steady with a slight increase in the percentage of entries being awarded the top A* grade, rising from 7.2% last year to 7.3% in 2014.  At A*-A there was a slight decrease of 0.8pp from last year to 29.9% whereas entries achieving A*-C rose slightly to 83.7% (83.5% in 2013).  The percentage of entries achieving the overall A*-E pass rate has remained broadly similar at 98.1% as opposed to 98.2% in 2013.

 

Commenting on the achievements of students from throughout the area the Mayor of Newry and Mourne Dáire Hughes said "I would like to congratulate all those young students getting their results today, well done to you all. The results also are a credit to the professionalism and commitment of teachers and parents".

The Mayor  added "For those who did not achieve the grades you wanted, there are many avenues open to you and I would urge you to explore these by talking to your teachers and parents". 

He concluded by stating "I sincerely wish you all every success for the future, whether you decide to go on to study, take up a new course, go into training or employment.”

St Paul's HS, Bessbrook, celebrate A and AS level results  Picture: Michael Cooper
St Paul's HS, Bessbrook, celebrate A and AS level results Picture: Michael Cooper

Employment and Learning Minister, Dr Stephen Farry said: “The importance of making an informed decision following exam results is imperative to effective career planning. Taking time now to explore options will pay dividends in the future. There are many opportunities available to you and I would urge you to examine these fully. My Department’s Careers Service can help you unlock your potential.

“Careers Advisers are located across Northern Ireland and offer professional, impartial advice and guidance on the options available. Careful consideration should be given to these as they are the first step towards achieving a fulfilling career.  I would urge you all to visit NIdirect careers webpageexternal link for a wealth of useful information and the location of your nearest careers adviser or, alternatively, you can call 0300 200 7820.

 

“Northern Ireland’s further education colleges also offer you the opportunity to study from a wide range of part and full-time courses to suit your career path, with options including Foundation Degrees, A Levels, GCSEs, NVQs and apprenticeships. You may want to consider an apprenticeship, where you have the opportunity to develop specialist skills, giving you the chance to earn while you learn and gain qualifications that are recognised worldwide. I recently launched the ICT Apprenticeship Scheme so for further details visit NIdirect apprenticeships webpageexternal link relating to their exam results eg appeals, remarks, re-sits, please contact your exam centre or the CCEA helpline on Tel No: 028 9026 1260 or email: helpline@ccea.org.uk.

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