17 August 2017
Former Education Minister Peter Weir, DUP MLA for Strangford has praised students across Northern Ireland on their A and AS Level results.
He said, “I welcome the announcement of the results of this year’s A and AS level results and particularly the achievements of our local students in Northern Ireland. Yet again Northern Irish students and schools are the flagship of success for the rest of the United Kingdom, outperforming their counterparts in England, Scotland and Wales.
The gap in results is startling with 30.4% of entries in Northern Ireland achieving A* or A grades, compared to 26.3% across the UK as a whole. This has been a consistent leading position for many years, and is to be celebrated. It is also heartening to see the increasing concentration on STEM subjects with Mathematics yet again being the most popular subject taken.
This has not happened by accident, and I commend the hard work and dedication of local students, teachers and supportive parents, without whom these results would not have been possible. It also shows the fundamental strength of our education system in Northern Ireland, and the folly of those who would seek to radically change our provision and destroy the best provision for young people in the United Kingdom.
There are areas that still need to improve, and so the gaps on gender and on socio-economic grounds, despite improvement in recent years on the latter, are still concerning, with particular attention still needed on male pupils from a Protestant working class background. We need however continued focused interventions on early years, rather than an education revolution that would simply wreck our education system and with it diminish the life chances of our young people.
I wish all our A and AS Level pupils well for the future, no matter what pathway they take, and for those who didn’t get the results they wanted, I urge them not to panic but to take advantage of the help from careers service to plot the best way forward. Above all though, I congratulate our pupils and they should enjoy today celebrating the fruits of their labours.”