Ballycastle High School’s prize day has taken place with principal Mr Ian Williamson welcoming special guest Mr Gerry Black, former pupil of Ballycastle High School and Principal of Knockahollet Primary School, to the ceremony.
Mr Williamson said: “It was a year of considerable success both academically and in other aspects of school life and we were delighted with the many excellent results achieved by our pupils in external examinations last summer, in particular at GCSE level, where we achieved another set of outstanding results,reinforcing our reputation as a top performing school.”
He continued: “At GCSE we sustained last year’s excellent performance, with almost a quarter of all examinations sat resulting in A* or A grades and over half of all grades awarded being grade B or higher. An excellent 66 % of pupils achieved seven or more GCSEs or equivalent including English and Mathematics at grades A*-C.
“This is 26% above the average figure for all non-selective post primary schools in Northern Ireland and is something we all should be very pleased about. It is equally noteworthy that we currently have seventeen subjects exceeding NI non-selective school averages for A* to C grades and that, once again, at a time of increased focus on Literacy and Numeracy, over 70% our pupils achieved grade C or better in both English Language and Mathematics.
“At A Level, there have been some excellent individual performances: sisters Tipsudar and Tipsukon Cochrane gaining three A* grades or equivalent and Hannah Ferris gaining two A* grades or equivalent and a grade B. Congratulations also go to Robyn Alexander, Ryan Brogan, Amy Gibson, Victoria Lyons, Daniel McLaughlin, Lindsay Norton, Emma Orr, Jeff Purdy and Laura Todd who gained three top grades.
“The top 12 students achieved 62% A* to B grades between them – and in fourteen subjects 100% of the grades awarded to our pupils were A* to C or equivalent. 80% of pupils were successful in gaining at least 3 subjects and seventeen subject areas enjoyed a 100% pass rate and 66% of grades awarded were in the A*-C or equivalent category.
“I am delighted to report that once again at GCSE level, the results achieved are truly excellent, with the figure for pupils achieving 5 grades at A* to C or equivalent being 89%. The figure when we look at 5 GCSEs or equivalent at grades A* to C including English and Maths –, was again amongst the best ever achieved by the school. With an outstanding 70% of pupils achieving this key benchmark figure, Ballycastle High School is 26% above the Northern Ireland average for comparable schools. An excellent 25% or one quarter of our Year 12 students have achieved at least 10 GCSEs or equivalent at grade C or better. Special congratulations go to Holly Reilly who has achieved an excellent 8 A* grades and 2 A grades, Eve Lowry with 3A* and 7A grades, Sharon Hanna with 4A*, 5As and 1 B grade, Amy McCormick with 8A grades and 2 Bs and Ronan Colgan with 2A* grades and 8 A grades. Many others should be rightfully proud of their performance and we are delighted that many have returned to study in the Sixth Form.
“This success has been attained with the support of parents and guardians but equally of key importance are the firm foundations laid in our primary schools. An eagerness to learn and a willingness to adapt to new structures is evident in so many of the pupils from our feeder primaries. Well mannered, well presented and radiating a joy which has been shaped by their experiences in the classrooms of these primary schools. They bring a sense of purpose and a desire to participate in their school community in a holistic way.
“This afternoon is a celebration of our young people’s achievements and their desire to participate in our school community. It is their energy and enthusiasm for life which provides the challenge and encouragement for the staff in school and which makes all our work worthwhile. Today is also my opportunity to formally recognise the diligence, professionalism and genuine empathy of the staff, pupils, parents and governors of Ballycastle High School and our partners.
“As we reflect on the successes of the last academic year, and the high levels of pupil engagement and participation in school life, it should enable all of us to start a new year with a sense of hope and optimism. Again key to our success is self-belief and it is this sense of self-belief, pragmatism and community which pervades so much of life in Ballycastle High School and a genuine desire to get the job done. So let us now continue our celebration of a job – well done!”