DROMORE High School marked another historic milestone last week when the school’s very first contingent of A-Level students gathered in its initial crop of AS-level results.
The AS-Level signals the halfway point in the two-year A-Level courses Dromore High School pupils embarked upon for the first time only last September.
Their journey, taking in more than 20 subjects, began a year or so after the school’s exhaustive campaign to secure post-16 studies finally resulted in the grant of A-level provision.
The man who for many years led that campaign, principal, Mr. John Wilkinson, said the school was more than happy with the first fruits of its A-Level labours; the “exceptional” results, he said, put students on course to excel in 2013.
“Dromore High School,” Mr. Wilkinson said on Thursday, “was delighted with the performance of the first cohort receiving AS results this morning.
“This was a momentous occasion for the school, which two years previously received permission from the Department of Education to allow students to study A-levels.
“This year the school sat exams in 24 subject areas. The results achieved by the young people were exceptional and the students are well placed to excel next year.”
On the broader front, record numbers of Northern Ireland students achieved A level grades this year.
Figures from the Joint Council for Qualifications showed that Summer 2012 saw a record 32,908 entries for GCE A-level examinations in Northern Ireland, marking a 10% rise in entries over five years, in contrast to the trend in England and Wales, where the numbers taking A-levels are falling.
Some 31.9% of Northern Ireland entries were awarded the top A*-A grades (34.5% in 2011). The percentage of entries achieving grades A* to E remained steady at 98.1%.
Anne Marie Duffy, Director of Qualifications at CCEA said, “Congratulations to the pupils and to their teachers for an outstanding performance. More local students than ever are staying on at school and achieving GCE A-level grades.”
Meanwhile, Employment and Learning Minister Dr. Stephen Farry and Education Minister John O’Dowd congratulated students who had received their A and AS-level results.
Dr Farry added, “Sometimes results can mean a change of plan, and we want to let students know that there are still many possibilities and choices available, whether you have done better than expected or not as well as you had hoped.
“My primary advice to anyone in this situation is to remember that help is at hand. My Department’s Careers Service has a team of professionally qualified careers advisors offering free, impartial, careers information, advice and guidance to young people and adults.
“You can call 0300 200 7820 or log on to the www.nidirect.gov.uk/results to access a wealth of useful information and locate your nearest Careers Office.”
Mr. 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 of hard work by the pupils with support from their teachers and families and I congratulate all involved.
For those with queries on any issues relating to their exam results eg.appeals, remarks, re-sits, contact your exam centre or the CCEA helpline on 028 9026 1260 or email email@example.com.
For those who are still undecided about what to do next, information, advice and guidance is available from the Careers Service at 0300 200 7820 or at: http://www.nidirect.gov.uk/results
Information on university options is also available from the Aimhigher website at http://www.aimhigher.ac.uk or the UCAS website http://www.ucas.ac.uk.