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Improvement in attainment levels encouraging – O’Dowd

24 November, 2011 - by John O'Dowd

Education Minister, John O’Dowd, has welcomed the publication of statistics on the achievement of year 12 and 14 pupils in examinations.The figures show continued improvement in the percentage of pupils achieving five or more GCSEs at grades A*-C including GCSE English and Maths.

Describing the statistics as encouraging, Mr O’Dowd said: “This year’s figures reflect the trend of the last couple of years of a growth in the proportion of pupils achieving at least five GCSEs at grades A*-C including English and Maths. This year, the figure stands at 59.8%.“This illustrates the success our school improvement policies are having in closing the achievement gap. It also reflects the hard work of teachers and pupils in our schools.

“In my statement to the Assembly on the future of education here I affirmed that my predecessor’s focus on promoting equality and fulfilling potential was the right one. I also made clear that, once we finalise the Special Educational Needs and Early Years strategies, we will have in place a radical and coherent set of policies that will improve educational outcomes for young people.

“The good work done in recent years to raise standards is already starting to improve the life chances of our young people through education.

“Nevertheless, it is clear that too many differences still remain. Despite these improvements, around 40% of young people still fail to achieve the level 2 qualifications they need to gain employment. We must continue the hard work to ensure that all pupils have the same opportunity to achieve, regardless of their social background or whether they are a boy or a girl.

“I have already signaled my intention to make this a priority of my term as Education Minister and will ensure that the focus remains on driving out inequalities and delivering continued improvements in educational attainment.”

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