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EDITIONS
Thursday, 19 August, 1999, 17:27 GMT 18:27 UK
Record results for Welsh students
A-level student delighted with results
Welsh A-level students are delighted with their results
A level students in Wales have produced their best-ever exam results.

The Welsh grades again beat those of England and Northern Ireland.

The results released on Thursday by the Welsh Joint Education Committee showed a rise in the overall pass mark and big gains in grades among the top pupils sitting their exams this summer.

The overall pass rate rose by half a point to 93% while the number of students earning A-C grades rose by 1.7% to 64%.

Celebrating A-level students
Welsh students are celebrating
Those pupils achieving grade A went up from 17.3% to 19.3%.

Results from WJEC exam centres were four per cent higher than those of pupils sitting with other exam boards from Wales, England and Northern Ireland.

But WJEC figures also revealed trends in exam entries, with the overall number of A-level students continuing to decline, falling 1% to 21,846.

The results were welcomed by Assembly Education Secretary Rosemary Butler, who described the increase in the overall pass rate as a "fine achievement".

Exam Results '99
Speaking in Cardiff, Mrs Butler said the figures were a platform to build on and she urged parents, pupils and teachers "not to lose sight" of the need to improve further.

"These results are a tribute to the hard work and application of our young people coupled with the dedication and professionalism of our teachers."

She dismissed claims that the results were rising because the exams are getting easier.

"I think children realise how important it is to have good qualifications so that they can move on to take good choices at university.

"There is no evidence whatsoever that standards are slipping."

Wales's position ahead of England and Northern Ireland was a result of teamwork, said Mrs Butler.

"There is this feeling of teamwork. The National Assembly, local authorities, teaching unions and the students themselves are all working together to ensure we are achieving success.

"The quality of teaching in Wales now is exceptional and the standard of learning is very good. So the combination of the two is giving us these continued results year on year."

A number of hotlines have been set up to deal with clearing enquiries in Wales.

University of Wales: Aberystwyth 01970 62 1999; Bangor 0800 328 5763; Cardiff 01222 874412; Lampeter 01570 474 600; Newport 01633 432 190-199; Swansea 01792 295 097; UWIC 01222 50 60 50; North East Wales Institute 01978 239 045; Swansea Institute of Higher Education 0800 731 0884; University of Glamorgan 0800 716925.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
Video
BBC Wales' Julie Barton reports on the record results
Audio
Education Secretary Rosemary Butler defends the increasing grades
Audio
BBC Wales's Education correspondent Julie Barton talks to pupils at Ysgol Gyfun Llanbedr Pont Steffan in Lampeter
See also:

26 Feb 99 | UK Education
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