Borders school-leavers opening their exam results today amassed a record number of qualifications.
More Borders pupils than ever before were put forward for exams this academic year despite a static school roll, and today’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 for both S5 and S6 pupils were also improved, with 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 ever, 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.
There was also a 2.67% increase in the number of S6 pupils leaving with three or more highers, with 574 pupils pulling off that feat, up from 530 in 2016.
Scottish Borders Council’s executive member for children and young people, East Berwickshire 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 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 continues to pay dividends, with an increasing number of our young people being able to leave education with higher levels of qualifications and attainment and move on to positive and sustained destinations.
“As has been the case in previous years, the results also paint a highly positive picture of the learning experience pupils are able to access here in the Borders, while providing continued evidence that the implementation of the curriculum for excellence in our schools is giving pupils every opportunity to achieve their highest potential.
“I wish all the young people who have received results today all the very best as they think ahead to their next steps and wish them well with their future goals and aspirations.”
The council’s service director for children and young people, Donna Manson, added her congratulations, saying: “Last year saw a significant increase in attainment at national level, and pleasingly this has translated into very strong attainment at higher level this year.
“I am delighted to see significantly more students being presented for a wide range of qualifications and that school leavers are gaining a greater number of qualifications than ever before.
“Our young people are to be congratulated on their success, not just in Scottish Qualifications Authority examinations but for the wide range of achievements and skills gained during this academic year.”
Ms Hamilton added: “Waiting on the text or letter that confirms these results is a hugely stressful time for all concerned.
“Having been through it myself as a parent, my heart goes out to everyone who has been waiting for this day to come, and I certainly hope that as many pupils as possible have received the results they were hoping for.
“If a pupil or parent has any queries about their results, however, there are a number of places offering advice. They should phone their school in the first instance and staff will be on hand to help.”
Support is also available from Skills Development Scotland on 0808 100 8000, open from 8am to 8pm on August 9 and 10 and 9am to 5pm on weekdays until August 12.
Additional information is available at www.sqa.org.uk