Whatever about the uniformity of results across the country, there was a uniformity in the delight that the principals of the County’s seven secondary schools expressed last week when greeting the Leaving Certificate results.
The annual round-up of the county’s schools found a general air of delight and Adrian Jackson, principal of the county’s biggest secondary school, summed up the feelings best when he said of the results in Carrick-on-Shannon Community School - “Overall, we’re very happy, the results are a very fair reflection of the effort put in by the students not only over the last year but over the last few years.
“We have a lot of very happy students and I would consider it a very good day for the school. We haven’t got into the nitty gritty of the results yet but judging from an early scan, we would see that the maths results are very good.
“We had a large Leaving Certificate class, I think around 105 students in total, and our science and maths results are very good. I think the overall sense is that everybody’s results are in line with our expectations.”
Mohill Community College Principal, Una Duffy, who passed on a message of congratulations to former pupil Laura Reynolds on her performance in the Olympic Games, said there were excellent results across the board for Mohill Community College’s 57 pupils.
“We have had excellent results across the board in every subject,” Una told the Observer, “It was certainly a very busy day in the school, starting at 6 am when we arrived to collate the results. The students started to come in around 9.30 and we’ve certainly been as busy as we’ve ever been. 75% of students have collected their results and most of them are equally happy.”
There were happy faces in Carrigallen Vocational School and Principal Declan Conboy, who thanked the dedicated staff of the school for the work they do with the students, said “We in Carrigallen Vocational School pride ourselves on the results achieved in the State Examinations. I would like to take this opportunity to wish all our past students the very best in their future educational careers and indeed in the wider world when they progress to look for employment.”
85 students from St Clare’s Comprehensive in Manorhamilton sat the exams and principal John Irwin revealed that four students had come very close to a clean sweep of A1s, with one earning a total of 590 points - “I would like to pass on my gratitude to both students and teachers for their excellent work throughout the year.
“Grades in all subjects are up from previous results and I’m very happy with how things have gone. The students seem to be very pleased with how things have gone and we have had some fantastic results.”
Lough Allen College Drumkeerin principal David Harding was delighted with how the school’s students performed - “Delighted to announce one of the best set of results ever for the college. Almost all students far exceeded their expectations with a significant percentage of students achieving close to the max of 600 points.”
Mr Harding was very keen to say a sincere word of congratulations to all the students and to wish them every success in their future lives. “A very special word of congrats must also go to the teachers who worked so hard with these students, also to the parents who are so supportive of the work of the college and the staff. This is a great day for Lough Allen College and a great day for our students.
“Of this year’s Leaving Certs, one-third scored in excess of 500 points. This is a tremendous reflection of the standards of teaching and learning in the college. Also with regard to repeat students, these excelled by increasing their points by as much as 150.”
Similarly Principal of Ballinamore PPS Padraig Leyden reported excellent results with one student achieving 6 A’s. Mr Leyden said he was “Very happy with the results,” adding students “Did well across the board.”
In total 60 students sat the Leaving Cert in Ballinamore. Another subject in which students excelled was in chemistry where, “Classes were small but the results were very good.”
Just three out of the 57 students who completed their Leaving Certificate in Drumshanbo didn’t turn up to collect their results last Wednesday. Acting Principal Sean Wynne said the school was busy with students opening envelopes and discovering what they were awarded as well as meeting fellow students and friends to discuss and announce their results.
“People who put the work in got their reward,” said Sean, adding those that didn’t work as hard did get “fair results.” Mr Wynne said the Agri Science exam was “challenging” and he said he felt the papers were “marked high.
Mr Wynne said about a third of Drumshanbo students will go straight to third level, while he expects one third will take a PLC locally, others have been talking about deferring college for a year – this may be an impact of the recession.
Mr Wynne said some students will want to review their paper and some may take up the option of appeal if they feel that necessary.
Mr Wynne said the prospect of project maths for Leaving Cert will be positive but he commented that some of the changes proposed for Junior Cert exams could negatively impact subjects for Leaving Certificate.
Declan Conboy did take issue with the lists which appear in National paper of the numbers going on to higher education - “The lists as appear in the National Papers showing the numbers of second level students who attend third level Colleges are not an accurate gauge for parents as they do not include the numbers of students who have completed their Leaving Certificate and who complete a PLC Course in an other educational establishment before continuing on to Third Level.
“This is unfair on second level schools that are not in a position to offer a PLC Course, and indicates that a percentage of students are not currently attending Third Level when in actual fact, they have deferred a place or will continue on to Third Level in a year’s time.”
Una Duffy stressed that the results were just the start for students - “My advice for students is that they consider their options and not take a course that they do not want, to make sure they are happy with their choice and then to move on to third level education and give it their best.
“Students today are of an age and a generation where they will study many more times; education is about something more than points and I would hope they go on to enjoy an educational career than is less pressurised and more gratifying and more fulfilling in the future.”
John Irwin echoed that message, reassuring those who did not reach their expected points total, that this is not the end of the road. “We may have a few regrets, but if anyone didn’t get what they wanted, there is always another way in to their desired courses.”
Finally, Adrian Jackson added that pupils should take time out to thank their family and teachers for their support - “I think it is important that we should stress the support the students get from their family, friends and teachers and I would urge the students to take a quiet moment of reflection and to thank people for their support, the support they get at home, the support from teachers and from their friends.”