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 smiling 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 per cent) achieving a National 5 in Maths and a four percent increase in S4 pupils (97 per cent) achieving National 5 English. The overall pass rate (A-C) for S4 at National 5 in all subjects remains at 83 per cent.

Education director Donna Manson said: “Overall, we are continuing to see a trend of improvement particularly in literacy/English and numeracy/mathematics.

“Raising attainment remains a priority focus for us, 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, and approximately 4,000 at Higher, with a small increase at Advanced Higher.

The early region-wide figures show that 85 per cent 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.

Peebles High's Paul Fagan was delighted with the achievements of his pupils. He said: "Once again the young people of Peebles High School have set new standards of excellence with a fantastic set of exam results.

" All across our community there are many inspirational stories of achievement within our S4, S5 and S6 with families justifiably proud of their children’s results.

"We know that their success is testimony to the unfailing support of their families and the diligence and expertise of their teachers.

"This year I am particularly delighted to be able to say that more than half of all the pupils who graduated from Peebles High did so with at least five Highers.

"I wish all who leave us this year the very best for their bright futures and I look forward to welcoming back our young people to continue developing the successful and confident young people of Tweeddale.”

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

Councillor Carol Hamilton (Cons), 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.