Hundreds of youngsters across Shetland received their exam results today, with a high performance at all levels.
The 622 pupils who sat Standard Grade, Intermediate or Higher exams, (up from 609 in 2012), got their results by text, email or post.
Initial analysis by SIC’s children’s services department showed the percentage of pupils achieving Standard Grade credit grades (grade 1 or 2) had dipped slightly from the 61.8 per cent high of last year.
At Higher level, the percentage of passes in the A-C grades in at least one subject held steady, at 77.9 per cent as opposed to 77.7 per cent last year. However the biggest improvement in passes was at Advanced Higher, with an increase of seven per cent over last year.
This was demonstrated by the unprecedented number of Anderson High School pupils who achieved A grades at Advanced Higher.
Ross Jamieson, 17, from Lerwick, got four A grades, which head teacher Valerie Nicolson described as “rare”.
Ross did maths, applied maths, mechanics, biology and physics, and said: “I’m very happy, I maintained my grades from my prelims.” He intends to go to the University of Strathclyde to study electronics and electrical engineering which, “should keep me occupied for five years,” and then go into the oil and gas industry.
His close friend James Ma, 18, from Gulberwick, achieved A grades in maths, applied maths, mechanics and physics in Advanced Highers, and also passed his art and design exam.
James said: “I’m really happy, it’s such a good way to end the year and to prove the work I did paid off.” He is now embarking on a six or seven year architecture course at Edinburgh University.
There were some remarkable results in Highers taken at the end of fifth year too. Megan Petursdottir, 16, from Gulberwick and Kirsty Uttley, 17, from Scalloway, both achieved five A grades, mostly in science subjects.
Megan, who recently took part in the island games as part of the Shetland swim team, took English, maths, biology, chemistry and accounting. She said: “I’m really happy with my results, they’re not at all what I was expecting. I worked really hard for the exams, there’s a lot to remember for five Highers. In the evenings I would train [at swimming] and then come home and revise.”
Kirsty took English, maths, biology, chemistry and French. She said: “Everyone says fifth year is the worst year at school. I had to work hard but it paid off, it’s manageable but you have to put in the effort.”
The girls were two of a dozen pupils gaining five As at Higher Grade at the first sitting. Ms Nicolson said: “It’s remarkable for our school, I’m pretty sure it’s the largest number in my time.”
She added that a “strong ethos of teamwork”, especially among the senior pupils, had helped their studies.
Regarding Shetland as a whole, Ms Nicolson said: “I’m very satisfied to see the young folk from across Shetland have achieved at least what they were expecting and in many cases much more.”
This is the last year of Standard Grades, and pupil Charlie Unsworth gained seven grade ones and one grade two at this level. He said: “I’m very pleased. I was a bit worried but they are higher than I expected.” He is now taking sciences at Higher level with a view to studying either medicine or chemical engineering.
Standard Grades will be replaced by National 4 and 5, and Ms Nicolson said she hoped Shetland schools’ success would continue with the new qualification.
This was echoed by quality improvement officer Robert Sim.
He said: “I expect the good results to continue at all grades, because the teachers are of very high calibre and provide a really good education. The pupils work hard and the parents are tremendously supportive.”
Local schools are ready to discuss results with pupils. Information is also available from Skills Development Scotland
More in this week’s Shetland Times including reaction adn photographs from around the isles.