EDUCATION chiefs are celebrating this week after Borders pupils raised the bar in both literacy and numeracy.

Thousands of teenagers waited anxiously on Tuesday morning for either the postman or an electronic text to deliver their exam results.

And the vast majority were celebrating as schools across the region saw improvements across most subjects.

Among the region-wide highlights was a nine percent increase in S4 pupils (86.3%) achieving a National 5 in Maths and a four percent increase in S4 pupils (97%) achieving National 5 English.

The overall pass rate (A-C) for S4 at National 5 in all subjects remains at 83 percent.

Education director Donna Manson told us: "My congratulations go to all our young people who have achieved qualifications.

"Overall, we are continuing to see a general trend of improvement particularly in literacy/English and numeracy/Mathematics.

"Raising attainment remains a priority focus for us as we are ambitious to ensure that all pupils fulfil their potential, as does our intention to progress with the development of a broader and more modernised curriculum that will be able to respond to the learning needs and aspirations of our young people."

The number of exams taken in the Borders during the spring was consistent with last year - approximately 6,000 at National 5, approximately 4,000 at Higher, with a small increase at Advanced Higher.

The early region-wide figures show that 85 percent of all senior pupils gained at least one Higher pass.

A school-by-school breakdown of exam results will be made available in the coming weeks.

But headteachers were delighted with the initial indicators.

Kevin Ryalls from Galashiels Academy told us: "Key to our successes in exam results is the teamwork and supportive working relationships between staff, young people and their families.

"We set very high expectations of our young people and encourage them to be ambitious and to aim high.

"Our results this year have seen us build upon and consolidate the progress made in recent years.

"We are pleased to have maintained our strong rates of Higher passes by the end of S6.

"In S4 and S5 our young people have also achieved well and have clear pathways to continue to gain more qualifications and success at the Academy.

"On behalf of all the staff, I would like to thank all young people who sat exams last year for their efforts."

Justin Sinclair from Earlston High explained: “I am exceptionally proud of the outstanding performance of the pupils of Earlston High School this year.

"Our overall performance in S4 and S5 has seen some record breaking figures.

"Our S6 also performed incredibly well with results that will set up our leavers with a solid foundation on which to start the next chapter in their lives.

"It is wonderful to see all the hard work rewarded in what I can only describe as an excellent set of results.”

Kelso's head Kelso High Jill Lothian was also pleased with this week's results.

She added: “We are very proud of our young people and their efforts in this year’s examinations."

And Vicky Porteous, head at Hawick High, told us: “There were some tremendous individual performances in amongst the many good results and of course we are proud of all of the achievements of our young people sitting exams this year."

Among the Galashiels Academy pupils who were pleased with their results was Rosie McLeman.

She said: "When Mrs Anderson phoned me and told me I got all As, I couldn’t believe it.

"I was so relieved , happy and proud. It shows that all those long revision sessions and hard work do pay off."

Fellow pupil Alex Caldow added: "I am happy with a good result after a stressful, but good year."

And Kyla Akrigg said: "I am very happy with my results this year and I am relieved to get it out the way.

"I am also looking forward to the next chapter in my life."

Jedburgh Grammar pupils Harry Brown, Lucy Lauder and Robbie Thomson were all delighted with what the envelopes contained.

Harry, who is about to study medicine at the University of Glasgow, said: "I am glad that I achieved what I needed and hope everyone else did the same".

Lucy added: "I'd like to thank all the staff for their support and I hope everyone has done well".

Early indications show that more school leavers across the Borders than ever before - predicted to be 95.3 percent - have achieved a higher education, further education or workplace destination.

Councillor Carol Hamilton, who is the Executive member for Children and Young People, said: “Overall, the picture is extremely encouraging with a consistent number of pupils presenting for examinations and more pupils than ever receiving a course award.

“It is particularly pleasing to see that our commitment to preparing our young people for their next steps in life continues to pay dividends with an increasing number of them being able to leave education with higher levels of qualifications and attainment and move on to positive and sustained destinations."

All of the region's nine secondary schools have staff on hand to answer any queries pupils have about their results.

Support is also available through the Skills Development Scotland helpline on 0808 100 8000 - which is open from 8am to 8pm on Thursday and Friday.

Advisers can provide access to information on UCAS course vacancies at college and universities across the UK, confirmation and clearing, advice about Modern Apprenticeships and employment and training opportunities.