24 August 2017
Former Education Minister and Strangford DUP MLA Peter Weir has congratulated pupils across Northern Ireland on their GCSE results.
Peter Weir MLA said;
“The announcement today of the GCSE results showing that Northern Ireland students have massively outperformed their counterparts in the rest of the United Kingdom is very welcome news. Taken together with a similar pattern in last week’s A and AS Level results it is a vindication of both the hard work of our local pupils, the support they are given by teachers and parents, and the basic success of education in Northern Ireland.
The gap between Northern Ireland and the rest of the UK, where our students achieved a pass rate of 79.5% compared to 66.3% is astonishing, coupled with the success of one in ten of our entries achieving an A*. Northern Ireland has bucked the national trend with improved results compared with a dip elsewhere. It is also gratifying to see increased take up of STEM subjects such as computing and physics. A gender gap remains, but even here it is good to see improvements in both girls and boys grades.
The GCSE results offer a firm educational base for the future and we can look forward optimistically. That does not mean that there is not work to do, and sections of our society which suffer from underachievement need to be continued to be addressed, but these results show that what must happen is targeted interventions rather than wrecking the system. It is also important that Northern Ireland will continue to have choice in their GCSE subjects and exam boards, and that we have retained both choice and comparability with students across the water, ensuring that local pupils are not disadvantaged.
There will be some who haven’t achieved what they wanted today, but there is help at hand particularly through schools and careers advice, and I urge them to be proud of the work that they have done, and there are options available. I congratulate our students on an excellent set of results and wish them well in whatever choices they make for their future.”