Northern Ireland

More Northern Ireland pupils get top GCSE and A-level grades

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Image caption Statistics for 2015/16 exam results have just been published by the Department of Education

The proportion of Northern Ireland pupils getting good A-level and GCSE grades has reached its highest ever.

Well over two-thirds - 67.9% - of year 12 pupils achieved five or more GCSEs, including English and Maths, at grades A*-C in 2015/16.

That is an increase of 0.9% from 2014/15.

At A-level, 66.3% of students achieved three or more A-levels at grades A*-C in 2015/16, an increase of 1.4% on the previous year.

The statistics for 2015/16 have just been published by the Department of Education.

They also show that almost half of pupils - 47% - who are entitled to free school meals achieved five 'good' GCSEs.

While that is also a rise on last year, it is still short of the 2011-16 programme for government target of 49%.

However, at A-Level more than half of pupils entitled to free school meals got at least three A-Levels at grades A*-C.

Girls continue to outperform boys at A-Level and GCSE with over seven in 10 girls getting five 'good' GCSEs compared to 64.2% of boys.

Image caption More than two-thirds of year 12 pupils achieved five or more GCSEs, including English and Maths, at grades A*-C in 2015/16

While pupils at grammar schools perform better that those at non-grammars, the performance gap between the two school sectors continues to decrease.

At A-Level, there was a slight fall in the proportion of grammar school students achieving at least three A-level passes, but an increase of almost 4% in the number of non-grammar pupils achieving those results.

However, 7% of 20,552 year 12 pupils who sat GCSEs were ruled ineligible to be included in the results.

That could be due to illness, welfare issues or because they have been withdrawn by their school.

At A-Level, 3.5% of the 13,253 eligible pupils were not included in the final summary of results.

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