Northern Ireland

Worried faces turn into beaming smiles for many pupils as exam results published

Happy twins Megan and Molly McGoldrick. Picture by Hugh Russell
Happy twins Megan and Molly McGoldrick. Picture by Hugh Russell Happy twins Megan and Molly McGoldrick. Picture by Hugh Russell

WORRIED faces turned into beaming smiles for many pupils yesterday as exam results were published following a disruptive two years of study.

There were sighs of relief from pupils, parents and teachers at many schools across the north as students gathered to receive A-level and AS grades.

The next step towards university or employment is now on the cards for the young people, who were the first to sit public exams since the Covid-19 pandemic, with those taking A-levels not having sat GCSEs and instead received teacher-assessed grades.

While many spoke of a challenging two years, most were delighted with their results.

Among those celebrating was Caoimhin Morgan, a pupil at All Saints College, who is the first student from the school to go to Oxford University after achieving one A* and two As.

"I'm now going to Oxford to study philosophy, politics and economics," he said.

"I was more calm this morning than I thought I was going to be. I could have got my results online, but came into school instead.

"I am really happy and delighted that I have got the results I needed.

"It has been a difficult few years, but we got through it. We have received great support from the school in getting here."

Principal Bronagh Farrimond spoke of her delight at the "outstanding" results from her pupils adding that it was the college's first set of results following amalgamation.

"The school amalgamated Christian Brothers School (CBS), Corpus Christi College and St Rose’s Dominican College in 2019," she said.

"Then Covid hit so this is a big year for us and particularly our students, we knew we would get through it, but to see the outstanding results today is fantastic.

"I am blessed to have so many great teachers who have devoted themselves to our students. We are a school that has been open seven days a week, including Saturday and Sundays to help and support our students and offering catch up lessons.

"The children in west Belfast are the heart and soul of our community and we have tried to do as much as we can to help every child."

At St Dominic's Grammar School on the Falls Road, the girls were jumping for joy with results they had achieved.

Twins Megan and Molly McGoldrick were celebrating double success after achieving two A*s, two As and a C between them.

"We are over the moon, so delighted," said Megan.

"After the last two years, it's been a bit a bit crazy. I narrowly missed out on an interview for medicine at Queen's, but have a firm offer for Liberal Arts at Queen's.

"Molly is going to Aerospace Engineering at Queen's, so we are so happy."

In east Belfast at Strathearn Grammar School, outgoing head girl Andra Vladu was delighted with her results in biology, chemistry and geography for A-level and French at AS.

She said despite the challenges of the past few years, she was "really happy with how my results have turned out".

"I have been offered a place at Imperial College London to study biological sciences with French so I'm very excited," she said.

Drew Totten, a pupil at Lagan College in south Belfast, also spoke of his happiness at getting the grades to study software engineering at the Queen's University.

He said while the exams had been challenging, after getting his results, he is looking forward to student life.