Northern Ireland news

Almost 59,000 students receive Leaving Cert results

Emma Duffy (left) and Rachel Ballantine picking up their Leaving Certificate results at Colaiste Ris in Dundalk. Picture by Niall Carson/PA Wire

LEAVING Cert students scored more points than ever this year due to a record number taking higher level papers.

Almost 59,000 pupils received results yesterday.

Grades were broadly in line with previous years and the trend of more opting for high level papers continued.

Five young people achieved eight H1s and 235 achieved six or more.

A total of 7,639 received at least one top grade.

In the case of maths, a record 33 per cent - just more than 18,000 students - took the higher paper. The majority secured the additional 25 bonus points on offer for the subject.

There was a five per cent increase in the numbers taking `stem' subjects.

One-in-three now sit higher maths - 10,000 more than in 2011.

Strong increases were observed in the numbers taking higher subjects related to engineering and construction, including maths, construction studies, physics and technology.

Damien Owens from Engineers Ireland said the ability to understand and work with maths and science subjects was invaluable for future engineers.

"Knowledge of these subjects is vital to understanding and addressing global challenges, such as climate action and informing public decision-making in our democracy," he said.

"As a small island nation, we are dependent on the quality and quantity of our stem graduates and it's very positive to see this increased interest in stem at second level.

"In order to build on this interest, it is incumbent now on all of us - teachers, policymakers, parents and industry - to play our part in building further awareness of the exciting world of stem at both primary and secondary level to meet the needs of society and industry."

Among those receiving results were more than 2,716 students who took the Leaving Certificate Applied, an alternative to the traditional academic exams.

There was a slight increase in the numbers sitting exams for non-curricular EU languages this year. Polish continues to be the most popular, followed by Romanian, Lithuanian and Portuguese.

Results day was brought forward by one day while the appeals timeline is shorter and will finish three weeks earlier than previous years, with post-appeal results confirmed by September 20.

Education Minister Joe McHugh said principals, teachers and other school and education staff deserved huge credit for their work to support students in reaching their potential.

"I introduced a number of measures to try and alleviate the stress and burden experienced by some students," he added.

"These changes are about trying to ease some of the pressure which students face."

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