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Rise in overall attainment for Isle of Man pupils and schools in spite of changing examinations

Thursday, 23 August 2018

Key features of the provisional IOM level 1 and 2 results*

The provisional level 2 (L2) results for Island pupils in the Department of Education, Sport and Culture’s five secondary schools are strong and represent a high standard of attainment in IGCSEs, GCSEs, BTECs, and other applied qualifications. The pass rates at L2 for both English and maths remain high for Manx pupils. 

More than 800 Year 11 pupils sat GCSE and equivalent examinations in May and June. There were entries in approximately 50 separate examination titles ranging from performing arts to business studies and from computer science to practical cookery. Nearly every student was entered for maths and English language, and also had at least one entry in science. 

The total number of full L2 (GCSE and equivalent) entries was approximately 6,500. Around two thirds of these were Cambridge International GCSEs. The vast majority of outcomes this year result from the teaching of new or revised specifications.   


  • The percentage of pupils attaining five or more L2 passes including English and maths is up on last year, and the second highest to date
  • Nearly 65% of Isle of Man pupils achieved both English and maths at L2 or above
  • 67.4% of all grades awarded were at L2
  • 98.1% of all passes were at L1 or L2, this is in line with previous years
  • Results this year represent a sea change in the qualifications environment nationally. The bulk of Isle of Man L2 qualifications are Cambridge IGCSEs, with a range of other equivalent qualifications, supporting the development of broader transferrable skills applicable to learning and employment
  • Vocational courses continue to develop in the Island’s schools with 7% of entries in these areas, set to rise further in the next two years. These include subjects such as ICT and construction studies, important to the major Island employment sectors. 

Joel Smith, DESC School Improvement Adviser, said:

'This is a good set of results for our schools, set against the challenges presented by a rapidly evolving qualifications picture nationally. Outcomes today reflect a huge amount of application by our pupils, supported admirably at every juncture by our dedicated teaching and support staff.' 

'In the key subjects of English and maths, pupils have performed well and given themselves a wide range of choices when approaching their continuing education and future employment.' 

Once again, there are reports from the schools of pupils attaining a mixture of all A* and A grades. At one school, a pupil has achieved 10 A* grades and 2 A’s, including an A* in Latin that she studied in her own time. 

At a Douglas school one pupil has overcome significant anxiety relating to going to school and achieved an excellent set of higher passes. 

Graham Cregeen MHK, Minister for Education, Sport and Culture, said:

'The Island’s pupils and our schools have enjoyed a great deal of success today, in spite of the challenges presented by changing qualifications and curriculum reform. 

'This has resulted in a considerable majority of pupils attaining well across a very broad range of academic and vocational courses.' 

'I would like to congratulate all of our young people on their achievements and thank the teachers and school leaders for maintaining very high standards of education for our young people.' 

'Whether looking to undertake post-16 courses in our five secondary schools, take up a place at University College Isle of Man (UCM) or, for a smaller number, seeking take up employment, I wish them well on their continuing journey through learning and life.' 

Comparisons with other jurisdictions 

The results published today are not comparable with results released in the UK this week. The UK results include all exam entries, including those from pupils in the Isle of Man as well as UK selective schools, independent schools and further education colleges. The Isle of Man data relates solely to 16-year-olds who have completed Year 11 in the DESC’s five secondary schools. 

Across the UK, there are different types of qualification, ranging from 1-9 GCSEs, A*-G GCSEs, Scottish Nationals, and other courses, all with varying assessment frameworks and result weightings. Direct comparisons with individual countries are therefore not possible, as Isle of Man schools have chosen a range of different L1 and 2 courses, ensuring the very best opportunities for our young people. 

*L1 = D-G or equivalent grades, L2 = A*-C or equivalent grades

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