Thousands of pupils receive GCSE results

Media caption,
Pupils at Lagan College, Belfast receiving their results

GCSE results in Northern Ireland have stayed almost static this year.

The biggest change is an improvement of 1% in the number of A* to C grades.

By comparison, the results across the UK have shown a fall in those grades.

In Northern Ireland and across the UK there has been a small drop in the number of A* grades. However, in Northern Ireland almost 9% got that result compared to just under 7% across the regions.

In Northern Ireland, 76.5% of exams were awarded an A* to C grade - that is significantly better than the overall UK picture of 68%.

Girls are again outperforming boys in GCSEs and the gap is widening.

Meanwhile, Northern Ireland pupils are becoming less keen on taking French and German at GCSE level but Spanish and Irish are more popular.

There are more pupils taking maths and science, probably as a result of a government push to help the economy.

'Do not panic'

Education Minister John O'Dowd said: "Today is an important day in the lives of the young people receiving their GCSE results.

"Regardless of what decisions they make, I would like to offer my congratulations to all who received their results this morning on their achievements.

"There will be some who may not have received the grades they had hoped for. My advice to these young people is not to panic. There are a number of services available to help, support and guide students on the next steps."

Employment and Learning Minister Stephen Farry said it was imperative to make an informed decision following exam results.

"Taking time now to explore options will pay dividends in the future," he said.

Frances O'Hara, head of the Careers Service, said what to do post-GCSEs was one of the first times young people had to make decisions for themselves.

"We would actively encourage them to make their own choice about what they want to do next," she said.

"Some of them will have got the results they wanted and some of them would've been disappointed.

"We in the Careers Service want to offer the assurance that there is a place for them - we're here to help them into the place that is right for them."

"If you did not achieve the results you expected, be they better or worse than anticipated, there are many other opportunities available to you and I would urge you to examine these fully."

Careers' information can be found at or, you can call 0300 200 7820.

For those with queries on any issues relating to their exam results for example appeals; remarks; re-sits, contact your exam centre or the CCEA helpline on 028 9026 1260 or email