Making the grade is not only about exam results for Falkirk pupils

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Celebrating success and looking ahead to the future was the focus for many young people in Falkirk district and beyond this week.

The annual Scottish Qualification Authority (SQA) results day saw an improved pass rate across the board for pupils studying at Falkirk Council schools.

It has been hailed as a “positive” outcome for the efforts of both pupils and staff.

However, the education authority made it clear that success cannot be measured purely in exam results and some pupils achievements had to be weighed against personal circumstances and challenges they had overcome.

David Mackay, head of education said: “Falkirk has seen an increased pass rate at Higher, Advanced Higher and Baccalaureate levels, as well as at S4 National 5 qualifications.

“This follows the pattern set last year and it is a positive result for the efforts of pupils and staff alike.”

Royal Mail staff delivered almost 8000 results envelopes in the FK postcode.

The day was one of mixed emotions – a time when months and years of hard work was rewarded for many, but for some disappointment not to meet expectations.

However, the message was not to be disheartened and there is always another option on the horizon.

Councillor Adanna McCue, spokesperson for education, said: “Once again our pupils have put in a great deal of work to achieve some great results and we wish them the best in their future life choices.

“There is no wrong path you can take at this stage, for those who did not get what they were looking for, there are endless opportunities and various pathways at all levels to continue to progress.”

Hours after their exam results arrived on Tuesday, representatives from all the local authority’s high schools converged on the Helix Park to mark the red letter day with education officials.

All were glad the waiting was finally over and were delighted to be celebrating their own success stories which signalled another school year for some, a move to further education for others and, for a handful, the start of employment.

Thomas Rintoul (18) has just left Denny High and has added three A pass Advanced Highers to his five A band Highers achieved last year. He will be going to St Andrew’s University to study Astrophysics.

Larbert High’s Joely Reid (18) is heading to college in Edinburgh to study human resources. She received two B passes and was one of the first students in the district to complete a Foundation Apprenticeship in financial services through Forth Valley College.

Sixteen-year-old Aqsa Anwar of Braes High achieved five A pass Highers and is returning to school to sit Advanced Highers with the aim of studying dentistry. Classmate Emma Mackay (17) hopes to eventually study drama and teaching after she received two As, one B and a C.

Falkirk High’s school captains for next session, Louis Smith (17) and Jenna Smith (16), are both delighted to be going into S6 with good Higher results. Louis, who hopes to study engineering, achieved four As and one B, while Jenna received two As and two Bs. She is also studying for an HNC in Police studies and hopes to study criminology when she leaves school.

Ethan Thom (18) leaves St Mungo’s High to go to Glasgow University to study medicine after gaining three As in his Advanced Highers.

Sixteen-year-old Heather Richards will return to Graeme High School where she has already achieved both the junior and senior dux medal. She received five A pass Highers and hopes to study veterinary medicine. Classmate Ross Livingston (16) also received five A pass Highers and wants to eventually study chemistry.

Twins Rachael and Allan Dickson (17) leave Grangemouth High with a range of exam success, as well as being recognised for helping others through volunteering and fundraising for charity. Rachel has six Highers and is heading to Dundee University to study primary school teaching, while Allan with five Highers and three Advanced Highers is going to Strathclyde University to study mathematics and physics.

Bo’ness Academy’s Levente Novak (17), achieved four A passes and one B in his Highers, while Rhys Struthers (18 )achieved four B passes as well as training to become a professional referee and is currently volunteering at the European Championships in Glasgow.

Kevin Davidson (18) has put his time at Carrongrange High to good use and has secured a volunteering position at the Almond Tree cafe in Falkirk after gaining work experience there. Classmate Liam Dunn (18) is also hoping to gain a full-time job or go to college.