THE nail-biting wait for exam results was over this week for Borders pupils –  with more youngsters gaining a higher number of qualifications than ever before.

During the 2016/17 academic year, a record number of Borders pupils were put forward for examinations. 

This year’s results show despite a static school roll, 723 additional pupils presented at National 5 level while there were 489 more at Higher level and 13 more at Advanced Higher Level. 

While there were 482 fewer pupils presented at National 4, this was because they were put forward for the more challenging National 5 award instead.

Galashiels Academy headteacher Kevin Ryalls said: “We’re immensely proud of our young people and their efforts in this year’s examinations. 

“We saw another increase in Higher passes, and an average improvement of 10 per cent in the number of pupils attaining three or five Highers since 2015. 

“Also of note is the growing number of S4 pupils attaining five or more National 5s since 2015.

“On behalf of all the staff, I’d like to thank all young people who sat exams for their efforts. We wish all our leavers the best of luck in the future and we look forward to working with our new S5 and S6 to build on their achievements so far.”

Justin Sinclair, Earlston High headteacher, added: “Our S4 results were exceptionally strong with an increased percentage of young people achieving a minimum of five National 5 awards. 

“In our S5 and S6 we saw another year of excellent attainment.”

Councillor Carol Hamilton, SBC’s executive member for children and young people said: “Waiting on the text or letter that confirms these results is a hugely stressful time for all concerned. 

“Having been through it myself as a parent, my heart goes out to everyone who has been waiting for this day to come and I certainly hope that as many pupils as possible have received the results they were hoping for.  If a pupil or parent has any queries about their results, however, there are a number of places offering advice. They should phone their school in the first instance and staff will be on hand to help.”

Overall, more pupils gained course awards than last year with an additional 422 at National 5 level, 292 more at Higher and 10 at Advanced Higher level.

National 5 results saw S5 maintaining last year’s percentage pass rate for five or more National 5 grades A-C. There was also a good performance by S6 pupils with a 3.61 per cent increase in the number of leavers with five or more National 5 qualifications.

Highers results demonstrated an improving trend both in S5 and S6, with S6 pupils leaving school with a greater number of qualifications than ever before.

There was a 1.4 per cent increase in the number of S5 pupils gaining five or more Highers – the best performance ever, with 215 pupils gaining five or more Highers, compared to 197 pupils last year. There was also good news for the number gaining three or more Highers with 455 pupils achieving at this level.

There was a 2.3 per cent increase in S6 pupils gaining at least one Higher, with 763 pupils achieving a pass compared to 719 in 2016. 

There was also a 2.67 percent increase in the number of S6 pupils leaving with three or more Highers with 574 pupils attaining more passes in 2017 compared to 530 in 2016.

The Advanced Higher Results show S6 maintaining the year on year positive attainment record with 21 per cent of pupils achieving a qualification.

In terms of positive destinations, Scottish Borders remains among the top nationally, and well above the Scottish average, with 94.2 per cent achieving a positive and sustained destination.