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Impressive examination performance in 2014/15 indicates the continued success of school improvement policies – O’Dowd

15 December, 2015 - by John O'Dowd

Education Minister John O’Dowd has said the impressive performance of Year 12 and Year 14 pupils in exams in 2014/15 is an indication of the continued success of school improvement policies and the hard work and dedication of staff and students.

The Minister was speaking as the Year 12 and Year 14 examination performance at post-primary schools statistical bulletin was published.

He said:

"I welcome these latest statistics which again show significant improvement in the exam performance of Year 12 and 14 pupils.

“The latest data is very positive and once again Year 12 and 14 pupils have to be congratulated for the hard work they have put into their exams. These statistics show a significant measure of continued success in relation to the school improvement policies I have put in place, and provide evidence that they are working for our young people. 

“The overall performance of the post-primary sector continues to show improvement, with a higher proportion of Year 12's attaining the key threshold of 5+GCSEs A*-C including English and Maths. The focus on improving standards in literacy and numeracy is paying off with the gap narrowing between those getting 5+GCSEs A*-C and those getting 5+GCSEs A*-C including English and Maths. There has been an increase from 65.2% in 2013/14 to 67.0% in 2014/15 and an overall rise of almost 10 percentage points since 2008/09.

“The performance of pupils eligible for free school meals has also continued to improve, an increase of 6.9 percentage points compared to 2013/14. Although a rise in performance was anticipated due to the increased proportion of pupils in post-primary schools being eligible for free school meals in 2014/15, the data show that there has also been continued improvement. These figures represent our most disadvantaged pupils and I am therefore greatly encouraged to see further improvement at this level.

“The gap between the performance of grammar and non-grammar schools is also narrowing. The rate of improvement in non-grammar schools, which educate a greater proportion of our disadvantaged pupils has been significant, rising to 46.8% from 38.7% in 2013/14 of pupils achieving 5+ GCSEs A*-C including English and maths.

“The gap in performance between boys and girls is also continuing to narrow at this level - in 2014/15 the gap was 7.7 percentage points compared to 9.9 percentage points in 2011/12.”

John O’Dowd paid tribute to young people for their hard work and dedication to education, to their teachers who continue to guide and inspire their learning, and to their parents, guardians, schools and managing authorities for encouraging and supporting them in their educational endeavours.

He said:

“Overall these statistics reveal a positive picture. However, we cannot become complacent. Our young people have demonstrated clear capacity to do well across many subjects but we need to continue to support them together to achieve at the necessary level in English and maths.

“I remain committed to raising standards in education. I want to see pupils from all sections of our society do well in education and I will continue to work hard to ensure that our education system has the needs of young people at its centre.”

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