The 40th and final results day in Downshire School was one for the record books.
Year 12 students began arriving for their GCSE results early this morning and the Assembly Hall was soon buzzing with excitement as students opened their envelopes to find superb grades and celebrated with family and teachers.
In this the last year of the school, Downshire went out on a high note with 72 percent A*-C grades - the best ever in the school’s history.
Principal, Mrs J Stewart commented that she was “absolutely thrilled” with the excellent results which reflect the hard work of pupils and staff alike.
She noted that in this year where the school was moving towards a merger and teachers were under enormous pressure preparing for next year and going through interviews, it would have been easy to lose some focus in the classroom.
However, this was not the case and they continued to work extremely hard in the best interests of the young people, and despite union action, continued to run revision classes in their spare time, encouraging and driving pupils towards success.
The combined efforts of teachers, Learning Support Assistants, pupils and parents have reaped their just rewards.
Another statistic of note is that the percentage of five or more A* - C including English and Maths has increased by 10 percent from last year to 40.5 percent.
As all young people are entered for GCSE English and Maths, this is significant, as is the percentage of five or more GCSE A* - G which now stands at 94.8 percent, 87 percent for pupils on Free School Meals.
In total just under half of the year group achieved between seven and 10.5 GCSEs each.
Top performing subjects included Contemporary Craft, Art, Engineering, ICT, Music, Double Award Science, Film Studies, Geography and Princes Trust, with English and Maths securing significant improvement on last year.
Mr T Creighton MBE, Chair of Governors, extended his congratulations to the pupils and staff on excellent final results and added his best wishes to all the students for the future, to the staff for their new challenges in Carrickfergus Academy, and to the principal for her retirement.
Mrs Stewart praised the pupils for wonderful results and wished them every success as they take the next steps on the educational ladder and thanked the Governors and all the staff, teaching and non-teaching for all of their excellent work throughout Downshire’s history, and parents for their support.