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Last Updated: Thursday, 25 August 2005, 08:30 GMT 09:30 UK
NI students top GCSE exam tables
Pupils in NI are outperforming their UK counterparts at GCSE level
Pupils in NI are receiving the remainder of their GCSE results
Northern Ireland pupils sitting GCSEs continue to outperform their peers in England and Wales, the local examinations board has said.

Pupils in the province who sat GCSE exams with the English and Welsh boards received their results on Thursday.

The CCEA said the figures showed that 71% of students in Northern Ireland achieved grades between A* and C compared to 61.2% nationally.

However, the number of pupils taking the exam has dropped by 3.1%.

Last year, 205,287 students in Northern Ireland sat GCSEs in comparison to 198,891 in 2005.

The CCEA has said part of this decline could be down to increasing numbers of students deciding to take GCSE applied examinations and occupational studies courses.

Nationally GCSE entries have also fallen by 2.4% to 5,736,505.
As with the A-level results last week this is another good news story for Northern Ireland
Gavin Boyd
CCEA chief executive

At the highest A* grade, Northern Ireland stretched its lead over the rest of the UK, with 7.5% of entries achieving the mark in comparison to 5.9%.

CCEA Chief Executive Gavin Boyd said the results were testimony to the hard work of teachers and pupils.

"Here is further evidence of the excellent work that is carried out in our schools and colleges to ensure Northern Ireland's young people continue to achieve their potential," he said.

"As with the A-level results last week this is another good news story for Northern Ireland."

Northern Ireland Education Minister Angela Smith said she wished young people every success for the future, whatever decision they made.

"I would remind pupils and parents that financial support is available to those wishing to continue in education through the Educational Maintenance Allowance as well as the training allowances available for jobskills," she said.

Despite the overall drop in entries there have been significant rises in a number of GCSE subjects taken by pupils, with increases in the number of students taking Information Technology, Music, Spanish and PE.

French, Business Studies and Home Economics were the subjects which showed a notable decline in the numbers of pupils sitting GCSEs in them.

The CCEA is operating an examinations helpline to support students, parents and teachers.

It will be in operation from 0900 until 1700 BST week days until 31 August.

Anyone with any queries regarding their examination results can call 028 9026 1260. Advice is also available on the CCEA website.

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