A nervous wait of more than two months finally came to an end for Hawick High School pupils on Tuesday with the arrival of their exam results.
The town’s fourth, fifth and sixth-year students, among a record number of Borders pupils sitting exams this year, finally found out just how well they did in their national 4, national 5, higher and advanced higher level Scottish Qualifications Authority exams.
And some of Hawick High’s top achievers gathered there on Thursday to share their news and to celebrate their excellent results.
The Buccleuch Road school’s national 5 results improved significantly, with the best results for a S4 group for at least eight years and a 4% improvement on last year for those gaining five or more national 5s.
The school’s departing headteacher, John Clarke, who is returning to his duties at Berwickshire High School in Duns from September, said: “It will be fantastic for the new headteacher, Vicky Porteous, to come into a school that is seeing genuine improvements in attainment.
“National 5 results have improved significantly and are the best results for a S4 year group for at least eight years with a 4% improvement on last year for those gaining five or more national 5s.
“Results in other areas have been maintained and there is a really good feeling in the school about the progress that can continue to be made, now that a permanent headteacher is in post.
“There were some tremendous individual performances in amongst the many good results and I wish to thank the staff for all their hard work over the last year.
“In particular though, I would like to congratulate all the young people and wish them well for the positive journey that they have ahead of them.”
Borders-wide, more youngsters than ever before were put forward for exams this academic year, despite a static school roll, and Tuesday’s results revealed improved achievement compared with previous years.
A total of 723 additional students sat exams at national 5 level, 489 more sat highers and a further 13 took advanced highers. Some 482 fewer pupils were entered for national 4 exams as they took more challenging national 5 ones instead.
More pupils were awarded course passes than last year, with an additional 422 doing so at national 5 level, 292 more in highers and 10 in advanced highers.
National 5 results saw S5 students maintaining last year’s pass rate for five or more A-C grades, and S6 pupils saw a 3.61% increase in the number gaining five or more national 5 qualifications.
Higher results saw S6 pupils leaving school with more qualifications than ever before.
There was a 1.4% increase in the number of S5 pupils gaining five or more highers, and that represents the region’s best performance, with 215 pupils gaining five or more highers, compared to 197 last year.
The number of S6 pupils passing at least one higher also increased, with 763 doing so, up from 719 last year, while the number leaving with three or more highers was up 2.67% to 574, compared to 530 last year.
Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for children and young people, East Berwickshire councillor Carol Hamilton, said: “The picture is extremely encouraging with record numbers of pupils presenting for examinations and more pupils than ever receiving a course award.
“It is particularly pleasing to see that our commitment to supporting young people to achieve a positive destination beyond school also continues to pay dividends.
“I wish all the young people all the very best as they think ahead to their next steps.”