Ulster Unionist education spokesperson Sandra Overend MLA, has congratulated Northern Ireland’s pupils on attaining excellent GCSE results, not only improving on last year but also increasing the proportion of A*-C grades to 79.1%, 12.5% higher than England and Wales.
Mrs Overend said:
“The results of our local students in this year’s GCSE exams are again excellent. In terms of our exam entrants gaining the valuable A* - C grades we have maintained a well-established pattern of being well over 10 percentage points ahead of both England and Wales. This is a fantastic achievement for our schoolchildren and their teachers.
“However, this continuing academic excellence should not blind us to the major challenges that face education or allow the Department to become complacent. There remains a well-documented problem with an unacceptably long tail of pupils who leave school with little or no formal qualifications. Business leaders also report that many school leavers lack interpersonal skills to succeed in the world of work. We must be careful not to overvalue academic achievement to the detriment of all the other abilities such as vocational and sporting.
“Nevertheless, today is a day for warmly congratulating our GCSE students for their achievements and offering them encouragement in the choices that they face.”