Senior school pupils opening their exam results on Tuesday have been commended for helping to paint a picture of consistent achievement across most subjects.
In line with last year’s record number of pupils being put forward for exams, around 6,000 National 5 and 4,000 Higher exams were sat in May.
Among the region-wide highlights were increased pass rates in both literacy and numeracy, most notably a 9% increase in S4 pupils (86%) achieving a National 5 in maths and a 4% increase in S4 pupils (97%) achieving National 5 English.
National 5 results saw S4 students maintaining last year’s pass rate for five or more A-C grades at 83%, and S5 pupils saw a 3% increase on last year to 89%. There was also an increase of 1.5% in the number of our young people achieving five National 5s.
The percentage of young people gaining an award at higher level and both higher and advanced higher remained the same as last year at 85% and 89% respectively. But there was an increase of 1.5% in the number of S6 pupils leaving with five highers or more.
The council’s executive member for children and young people, councillor Carol Hamilton, said: “I am delighted to be able to congratulate the young people of the Scottish Borders on the results that have been attained this year.
“Along with the teachers, parents and carers who have taught, encouraged and supported them to strive for their personal best, they are to be commended for all their hard work and should be very proud of what they have been able to achieve.
“Overall, the picture is extremely encouraging with a consistent number of pupils presenting for examinations and more pupils than ever receiving a course award. I wish all the young people who have received results today all the very best as they think ahead to their next steps.”
Headteachers have been quick to praise pupils this week.
Justin Sinclair from Earlston High said: “I am exceptionally proud of the outstanding performance of the pupils of Earlston High School this year.
“Our overall performance in S4 and S5 has seen some record-breaking figures. Our S6 also performed incredibly well, with results that will set up our leavers with a solid foundation on which to start the next chapter in their lives.”
And Jill Lothian from Kelso High added: “We are very proud of our young people and their efforts in this year’s examinations. At Kelso, our senior students continued to aim high and with support of family and staff, they worked hard towards their individual targets and goals.
“Although attainment is important, it is part of a bigger jigsaw and we have a significant number of young people staying on to complete their three years of the senior phase. This allows our young people to build on their portfolio of SQA results while also developing skills for life and work.”
Jedburgh Grammar School headteacher Susan Oliver added: “We would like to congratulate all our young people on their achievements this session and are delighted to see their effort and commitment rewarded. We are very proud of all they have accomplished, in terms of SQA qualifications, wider achievement and also personal triumphs, small or large.”
Galashiels Academy headteacher Kevin Ryalls said: “At Galashiels Academy we are very proud of the achievements of our young people in the 2018 examinations. Our young people sat examinations across a wide range of subjects and levels and have worked very hard throughout the session.
“Key to our successes in exam results is the teamwork and supportive working relationships between staff, young people and their families. We set very high expectations of our young people and encourage them to be ambitious and to aim high. Our vision in the academy is that we will all be the best we can be. Along with values and skills, qualifications are a central part of how we develop this vision.
“Our results this year have seen us build upon and consolidate the progress made in recent years. Our school leavers are leaving with very encouraging results. Our S6 has worked very hard to achieve very strong results which will provide them with a strong platform for their futures. We have also made significant progress in ensuring that all our learners achieve as many qualifications as possible. We are pleased to have maintained our strong rates of higher passes by the end of S6. In S4 and S5 our young people have also achieved well and have clear pathways to continue to gain more qualifications and success at the academy.”
“On behalf of all the staff, I would like to thank all young people who sat exams last year for their efforts. We wish all our leavers the best of luck in the future and we look forward to working with our new S4, S5 and S6 to build on their achievements so far.”
Hawick High School’s headteacher Vicky Porteous 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 improvements in the number of S5 students achieving three and five Highers at grades A to C pass. We have also maintained the improvements in A to D grades at National 5 level achieved last year.
“There were some tremendous individual performances in amongst the many good results and of course we are proud of all of the achievements of our young people sitting exams this year. Their results also complement the excellent 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.”
Any pupils or parents with queries about their results should contact their school or access the Skills Development Scotland helpline on 0808 100 8000 before August 12.