RENFREWSHIRE pupils bucked the national trend in securing places at the UK’s top universities – as one fifth of S5 students achieved five or more Highers.

After hundreds of pupils peeled the seal off their envelopes yesterday, smiles broke out all over Renfrewshire as the pass rate for five or more Highers rose by two per cent on last year.

The wider picture, meanwhile, stayed virtually the same as in 2017, with the national attainment rate falling only slightly to 76.8 per cent, compared to 77 per cent.

In S4, more than 90 per cent of pupils in Renfrewshire gained National 4s, with 63 per cent achieving three or more National 5s, an increase of one per cent on last year.

Almost half of all students gained five or more National 5s and around one fifth of S6 pupils achieved three or more Highers this year and one or more Advanced Highers.

Euan Huey, who attended Gryffe High in Houston, was especially delighted when he opened his Advanced Higher results, as they revealed his key to an exciting future at a historic university.

He said after getting his results: “I was sitting with a conditional offer to study history at Oxford this morning. Everything was resting on these results. 

“It was terrifying and has been for a good couple of months. It’s such a relief to open them today and find out I’ve got three As at Advanced Higher.” 

Meanwhile, Euan’s twin sister Maisie, who also attends Gryffe High, was equally pleased with achieving top grades, despite not having to deal with quite the same pressure as her brother.

“I got two As and a B at Advanced Higher,” said Maisie.

“I had an unconditional offer to study English Literature at Glasgow University so, while I didn’t need these results to get in, it was a good year and I learned a lot.”

John Swinney, Scotland’s Education Secretary and Deputy First Minister, joined pupils at Gryffe High where he was met by scores of happy faces. 

He said: “Results day is a time to celebrate the achievements of learners right across the country.

“It is clear our young people have performed strongly, against rigorous standards, and are now in an exciting position to decide what they go on to do next.”

Colin Johnson, headteacher at Gryffe High, added: “Exam results day is nerve-wracking and I’m pleased so many young people in our school have achieved what they wanted. 

“All pupils worked exceptionally hard and they have been supported by dedicated teachers, school support staff and their parents. 

“It’s a joy to see their faces as they open their results and celebrate with their friends.”

Pupils at Johnstone High were also pleased their hard work had paid off as their grades allowed them to go on to higher education.

Lynne Hollywood, Johnstone High headteacher, said: “We are pleased the efforts of so many of our young people have paid off in terms of getting the grades they were hoping for.

“It’s a reflection of our school values, especially determination, and we are very aware of the hours of hard work put in by pupils, as well as parents, teachers and our support staff.

“It’s not just the effort put in on the day but also in the weeks and months leading up to the exam time.

“I’d like to say well done to all of our pupils and also thank you to all staff across all departments, who are part of a valued team.”

Councillor Jim Paterson, education and children’s services convener for Renfrewshire Council, said: “I’d like to congratulate all of Renfrewshire’s young people on their exam results. 

“Each of them has worked incredibly hard and should be proud of what they have achieved.

“I would also like to thank all the teachers, school support staff and parents who supported our pupils through their exams.  

“Renfrewshire is ambitious for all its children and young people to have the best start in life and reach their full potential. 

“Our exam results are encouraging and we remain committed to do more to help children and young people into positive destinations, regardless of their background or start in life.

“Exam results are a big deal but it is also the work young people put in over the years that counts. 

“No matter what your results are, there are a number of paths you can take. If you need support, get in touch with the Skills Development Scotland helpline or visit the UCAS website.”