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Minister comments on education statistics

29 May, 2008

Sinn Féin Education Minister, Caitríona Ruane, has welcomed the publication of statistics on school leavers' qualifications and has emphasised the need to build on the success achieved by many in the system.

The statistics show that just under two thirds of pupils are leaving school with at least five good GCSEs (at grades A*-C) and 89% are leaving with five or more at grades A*-G. At the other end of the spectrum however, 3.8% of pupils left education last year without any GCSEs.

Commenting on the figures, Ms Ruane said:

"I am pleased to see the excellent performance of our pupils reflected in some encouraging results overall. The strong showing by many children can be attributed to the dedication of the staff in their schools, the support from parents and, of course, the hard work of the young people themselves.

"Despite the excellent results at the top end however, there are still large numbers of young people leaving school with poorly developed literacy and numeracy skills and not in a position to compete in the labour market.

"I am committed to tackling this problem and am engaged on a programme of reform to ensure all children can make the most of the educational opportunities available to them.

"I am overseeing the phased roll out of the revised curriculum which will help pupils develop the skills they need for life and work and give schools the flexibility to tailor what they teach to meet pupils' needs. Alongside this, the implementation of the Entitlement Framework will increase the range of courses young people can study from the age of 14. This will widen horizons in the education system and provide opportunities currently not available to many children.

"I am also finalising a revised Literacy and Numeracy strategy which, along with a new school improvement policy, will build on best practice and raise standards in all schools.

"These reforms will play a key role in allowing our young people to achieve their full potential.

"Much of the debate in education, however, has centred on the issue of post-primary transfer. I firmly believe that the abolition of academic selection has an important role to play in raising standards for all. As we work towards a resolution of the transfer issue, we must remember those who leave 12 years of compulsory education with no qualifications. We cannot afford to fail them - I will not let that happen." ENDS

Note to Editors

The results from the 2006/2007 School Leavers Survey can be accessed at -

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