Schools celebrate A-level grade success

Sinead McGarry, Rachael McGrann and Hannah O'Neill at St Dominic's. Picture by Hugh Russell

ALMOST one in every three A-level entries this year has been awarded one of the two top grades - with schools across the north celebrating success.

Figures showed 30.4 per cent received grades A* or A, a slight increase on last year.

Justin Edwards, head of the north's CCEA exams board said he believed there was plenty of "head room" for further inflation in grades in years ahead without hampering universities' ability to choose between pupils.

Universities and degree choice were among the topics being discussed by pupils collecting results at St Dominic's Grammar School in Belfast, which has been the top-performing school in the north for the last four years.

Girls spoke about studying degrees next year in subjects including medicine, teaching, politics, English, maths and actuarial science.

Twins at St Dominic's Grammar School for Girls Rhianna Keenan and Lauren Keenan. Picture by Hugh Russell

Lauren and Rhianna Kennan were just one set of twins celebrating A-level success at St Dominic's. Another set of identical twins - Amy and Megan Wilkinson - enjoyed identical AS-level results, scoring four A grades in biology, chemistry, physics and maths.

Twins at St Dominic's Grammar School for Girls Megan Wilkinson and sister Amy Wilkinson. Picture by Hugh Russell

Principal Carol McCann said 92 per cent achieved at least three C grades or higher saying this continuing success was die to the "unfailing commitment of the students and staff and support of parents and their commitment to their daughters' education".

"The staff in St Dominic's always go the extra mile for their students," Ms McCann added.

"They continually strive to nurture the development of students and foster a learning culture that provides opportunities for success for every individual student."

Meanwhile Laoise McKenna was among pupils at St Killian's College in Carnlough celebrating. The double Ulster Schools' All-star camogie player battled back from illness this year to score A grades in maths, chemistry, biology and Irish.

Laoise, who captained Antrim to three titles in 2016 was off school for the whole of term two. She said she had accepted a place to study pharmacy at Queen's University Belfast.

Principal Jonny Brady noted overall significant results achieved in both stem and arts subjects.

"This year’s outcomes highlight the fact that non-selective education continues to deliver excellent results for all at A-level and represents the fourth year in a row where there has been a significant increase in the percentage of pupils achieving A*-C grades," Mr Brady said.

 Students from St Killian's College with principal Jonny Brady and vice-principal Eileen McKay

At Lumen Christi College in Derry, 11 pupils achieved four A*/A grades.

"We are extremely proud of all our students and absolutely delighted with their achievements - 99 per cent of all grades were A*- C with 42% of the students gaining an impressive 3A*/As or more," said principal Siobhan McCauley.

"The vast majority have already secured a university place of their choice. These outstanding results are testament to the hard work of the students, dedication of the staff and unwavering support of parents."

Students from Lumen Christi College, Derry, who achieved 11 A*/A grades with principal Siobhan McCauley (centre)

Hazelwood Integrated College in Belfast achieved its best ever A-level results with 100 per cent of pupils passing every exam.

Principal Kathleen O'Hare said she was delighted.

"I think our success this year proves that we offer a curriculum that meets the needs of our students and also the the world of work. A number of our students have overcome personal barriers to achieve fantastic results," she said.

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