YOUNG people in Clackmannanshire received praise as the SQA exam results were announced yesterday.

The council also gave thanks to school staff as well as parents and carers.

There was an increase in the range of qualification levels young people achieved from National 2 to Advanced Higher.

Nearly 1,000 were awarded at least one SQA qualification and more than 1,500 National 5 qualifications were received across the senior phase with 30 per cent achieving an A.

There was a 28 per cent increase in the number of Advanced Highers awarded compared to last year; these qualifications can lead to college, university and technical apprenticeships.

The overall pass rate improved within the S4 cohort, the council saying this reflected the investment from the Scottish Attainment Challenge, Pupil Equity Funding and additional support from teaching staff during extra sessions.

More pupils achieved three or more Highers than the year before and there was an increase in the number of young people choosing to study Foundation Apprenticeships alongside Highers across all local schools.

According to the local authority, the most disadvantaged students had some of the most notable successes.

Despite adverse circumstances, some of the young people gained qualifications which can lead to apprenticeships, further education, training and employment.

This year a number of our young people have successfully achieved Foundation Apprenticeships, National Certificates and Higher National Certificates as part of their senior phase in local schools and in partnership with Forth Valley College.

More than half who completed their course passed, which is an improvement on last year.

There was also a significant increase in the number of pupils who studied a wide range of subjects with around a third successfully returning for a second year as part of their Foundation Apprenticeship.

In particular, the number of young people choosing to study for a Foundation Apprenticeship increased last year from 2 to 29.

Councillor Graham Lindsay, spokesperson for education, said: "I am delighted to see this set of results for our young people in Clackmannanshire.

"They reflect the increasing range of qualifications and awards that are now being made available across the senior phase in our schools, and in partnership with the college.

"This improving trend in education demonstrates the hard work and commitment from all our schools staff and parents and carers.

"I would like to congratulate the pupils on their success and thank everyone involved."