Headteachers at the Borders’ high schools have congratulated their pupils on another year of exam success.
The number of Scottish Qualifications Authority exams sat across the region this year was up slightly to 12,800, 6,000 of them at national five level and 4,000 of them highers, but pass rates remained in line with recent years.
The overall pass rate at grades A to C for S4 pupils at Scottish Credit and Qualifications Framework level five was 82% for the third year on the trot.
In terms of what are described as positive post-exam destinations, Borders pupils continue to be well above the Scottish average, up to 96.7% from 95.3% last year.
The number of pupils excelling in the core skills of literacy and numeracy is also on the up, with 96% of S4 pupils achieved a national five English award and 82.2% doing likewise at maths.
Those performances have earned praise for pupils from their headteachers.
Justin Sinclair, head at Earlston High, said: “I am delighted with the performance of our pupils in this year’s SQA examinations.
“We have had a record-breaking year, particularly in S5.
“I want to pay tribute to the hard work of all our pupils and staff.
“The number of young people attaining qualifications from college is also exceptionally encouraging.
“Our record of continuous improvement and focus on excellence for all is evident in these superb results.”
Kevin Ryalls, head at Galashiels Academy, said: “We would like to recognise the hard work and perseverance shown by our senior pupils, staff and parents and carers during the SQA exams.
“We congratulate our young people for their SQA examination successes, as well as for the wide variety of achievements that have also been accomplished across the wider life of the school in the last session.
“With the national focus on the attainment levels and skills young people leave school with and the subsequent impact on securing a positive destination that meets the aspirations of young people, it is encouraging to see that Galashiels Academy continues to achieve very well in terms of positive destinations, and we wish all our leavers the very best as they move onto the next stage of their journey.
“We would like to recognise the notable individual achievements of many of our young people, including almost all of our S4 pupils who achieved at least five national qualifications.
“We also saw an increase in the number of young people achieving higher passes in S5.
“Thinking ahead to the next session, we look forward to working with our new S4, S5 and S6 pupils to build on the academic achievements of this session.
“Each year, we aim to have more academy students being presented for a wider range of qualifications, and we will continue to build on our achievements and work very hard to serve our community.
“We are looking forward to working with all our young people to help them develop important values, learn the skills they need in life and gain the qualifications that allow them to reach their positive destinations.”
Vicky Porteous, head at Hawick High, said: “Thanks to the hard work, commitment and dedication of both the staff and young people at Hawick High School, we continue to see improvements in attainment.
“Highlights include an improvement in passes at A to C grades at both national five and higher level compared to last session.
“In addition, we have maintained our A-C pass rate at advanced higher level.
“This exam diet has also seen improvements in literacy and numeracy, with A-C passes in numeracy at national five level having improved for both S4 and S5 students.
“There has also been a significant improvement in A-C passes at higher level for numeracy.
“We have maintained our strong performance in literacy at national five level for both S4 and S5 students, and our passes at higher level have improved significantly.
“There were some tremendous individual performances in amongst the many good results.
“We are proud of all of the achievements of our young people sitting exams this year.
“These exam results complement the very good positive destination figures for the school for this session.
“Well done to all and many thanks to parents, carers, staff and community supporters for enabling this to happen.”
Susan Oliver, Jedburgh Grammar’s head, said: “We are very proud of how our young people have performed in this year’s SQA examinations and also for the fantastic range of achievements they have accomplished throughout last session.
“In addition to outstanding individual performances across qualification levels, a highlight of this year’s SQA results is an increase in the number of highers and advanced highers our young people are leaving school with.
“The number of S6 pupils achieving an advanced higher this session has increased by 10% and the number achieving two advanced highers has doubled.
“We are also pleased with performances in new subjects presented for the first time in 2019 and are excited about additional new opportunities and qualifications on offer for 2019-20.
“We would like to congratulate all of our pupils on their achievements and thank parents, staff, partner agencies and our community for their ongoing support.”
Jill Lothian, Kelso High’s head, said: “We are very proud of all our young people and their efforts in this year’s examinations.
“At Kelso High, our senior students continued to aim high, and with the support of family and staff, they worked hard towards their individual targets and goals.
“Although attainment is important, it is part of a bigger picture and this is reflected in our core values – pride in ourselves, our school and our community.
“Our young people will continue to develop their portfolio of SQA results while also developing skills for life and work.
“With the ongoing support of our wider school community, we are able to increase the range of subjects and levels that we can offer our young people.
“Highlights of our 2019 SQA performance include an increase in the percentage of pupils gaining awards within national five and higher, while across the board we have had an increase in the number of presentations at all levels.
“As a school, we will be celebrating the success of individuals and their outstanding results and would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the commitment, dedication and hard work that has been shown over the past year by our young people, all staff, parents and carers alike.”
Campbell Wilson, head at Peebles High, said: “We are thrilled with the performance of our young people in their SQA examinations this year.
“We targeted closing the attainment gap last session and are pleased to see the hard work of our young people being rewarded with over 80% of our fourth-year learners attaining at least five qualifications.
“Every child can experience success in examinations, and we will aim to improve on this even further next session.
“We are also very proud of our performance in delivering our highest ever attainment in S5 higher qualifications. This is a fantastic reward for our young people’s hard work, as well as the unwavering support and positive involvement of our parents and the determination and hard work of our talented and committed teachers.”
Jamie Bryson, head at Selkirk High, added: “Academic achievement is continually growing, showing strength of the rounded education we are so proud of at Selkirk High School, and it’s wonderful to see so many of our students celebrating fantastic results today.
“Behind each result is a tale of great effort, resilience, teamwork and high emotion, and I congratulate students on the range and quality of their achievements, particularly those who have overcome considerable barriers to achieve so highly.
“I thank the staff and families who have supported them over the year and urge any student, if things haven’t gone their way, to remember that you never fail when you try your best – you simply change direction and learn and learn and learn.
“I’m very proud of you all. Well done.”
John Clarke, head at Berwickshire High at Duns, said: “We are very proud of how our young people have performed in this year’s SQA examinations.
“There have been some outstanding performances amongst these results, particularly within the higher exams, where the school has yet again increased the number of pupils who are gaining three and five highers respectively.
“We are delighted to be improving our overall school results and look forward to making further improvements in the coming year.
“We would like to take this opportunity to acknowledge the hard work and commitment of our young people but also the significant input and dedication that has been shown by their parents, carers and teachers alike.
“Our local community should be very proud of each and every success and achievement shown by these results.”
Robin Chapman, Eyemouth High’s head, said: “This is another set of pleasing results at the end of a very successful year for Eyemouth High School.
“Our pupils have achieved some of our best results ever, which reflects their hard work and dedication over the course of the year.”