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Pass rate for NCE falls 16pc but entrants up

The pass rate for the National Certificate Examination fell by 16pc this summer compared with a year ago, it was revealed today.

But the number of candidates taking the industry’s leading professional qualification rose by more than 50pc year-on-year, according to the National Council for the Training of Journalists.

In July 2008, 129 candidates sat the exam of which 66pc passed, but although the pass rate this time round fell to 48pc, the number sitting the exam rose to 199.

The chief examiner said: “As the recession continues to hit the newspaper industry and job opportunities remain limited, it is pleasing to see that trainees are determined to complete their training and gain senior status.”

  • Click through to see who won the four NCE Awards.
  • Read here what the examiners said about the candidates.
  • The senior journalism qualification was awarded to 95 candidates who were successful in all four areas: news interview, news report, newspaper practice and logbook.

    Pass rates for the individual sections were: news interview 63pc, news report 53pc, newspaper practice 66pc, and logbook 97pc.

    Five trainees sat the NCE for sub-editors on the same day, the fourth time the examination has been held, and all of them passed.

    The chief examiner of the NCE for sub-editors said: “In the sub-editing exam, in which candidates have to produce a page from scratch in just two hours, the standard was excellent. Design was generally clean and, most importantly, copy subbing was sharp and precise.”

    The full examiners’ report can be seen on the NCTJ website via a link from the homepage,

    The full list of trainees who passed this summer’s NCE is:

    Caroline Abbott, Express and Echo, Exeter
    Safira Mussarat Ali, News and Star, Carlisle
    Emily Allen, Oxford Mail
    Victoria Ashford, Wiltshire Times
    Peter Bainbridge, Macclesfield Express
    Sophie Barley, Scarborough Evening News
    Amanda Barnes, Alton Post Gazette
    Amanda Barrell, Littlehampton Gazette
    Jenny Barwise, News and Star, Carlisle
    Kirsty Beever, Scarborough Evening News

    Julia Bennett, The Gazette, Blackpool
    Derek Bish, Haverhill Echo
    Angela Brennan, Midweek Herald
    Nicholas Brimacombe, Mansfield Chad
    Andrew Brookes, Lincolnshire Free Press and Spalding Guardian
    Stephanie Brooks, Bury Free Press
    Victoria Carr, Harrogate Advertiser
    Russell Claydon, East Anglian Daily Times
    Andrea Collitt, Harwich and Manningtree Standard
    Jessica Cunniffe, MK News

    Jack Davidson, Malvern Gazette
    Annabelle Dickson, Eastern Daily Press
    Claire Duffin, Derby Telegraph
    Conrad Emmett, Grimsby Telegraph
    Lisa Ettridge, The Gazette, Blackpool
    Kelly Felstead, Newmarket Journal
    Louisa Felton, Hemel Hempstead Gazette
    Paul Fisher, Bedfordshire Times and Citizen
    Martin Ford, Hertfordshire Mercury
    Victoria Foster, News Shopper

    Oliver Frankham, Kent and Sussex Courier
    Adam Gaudry, The Echo, Basildon
    Amy Glendinning, Heywood Advertiser
    Bernadette Goodjohn, Northants Evening Telegraph
    Cherie Gordon, The Herald, Plymouth
    Rebecca Gough, Norwich Evening News
    Charlotte Gray, Freelance
    Christopher Gregory, Basingstoke Gazette
    Kerry Grove, Surrey Comet
    Laura Hannam, MK News

    Rosemary Harland, Reading Chronicle
    Dominic Harris, Bristol Evening Post
    Suzanne Harvey, Lancashire Evening Post
    Alexander Hayes, Bucks Free Press
    Duncan Hepburn, North London Newspapers
    Sian Hewitt, East Grinstead Observer
    Rachel Hickman, Dudley News
    Sarah Hilley, Swindon Advertiser
    Rachel Hine, The News, Portsmouth
    Christopher Hopper, Lancashire Telegraph

    Matthew Humphreys, Islington/Camden Gazette
    Luke Jacobs, Surrey Advertiser
    Shaun Jepson, Derby Telegraph
    Gemma Jimmison, Hemsworth and South Elmsall Express
    Helen Kitchener, Kent and Sussex Courier
    Keeley Knowles, Bedfordshire on Sunday
    Patrick Knox, Basingstoke Gazette
    Adam Kula, The News, Portsmouth
    Nicole Le Marie, Dorking Advertiser
    David Maclean, Shields Gazette

    Simon Mail, Watford Observer
    Kate Mason, Doncaster Free Press
    Chine Mbubaegbu, Reading Post
    Rhiannon McDowall, Macclesfield Express
    Roisin McGroarty, Ayr Advertiser
    Georgina Morris, Dewsbury Reporter
    Christopher Moss, Harlow Star
    Alice Murphy, Wokingham Times
    George Nott, Medway News
    Lisa O’Brien, Hemsworth & Elmsall Express

    Jane Onyanga-Omara, The Herald, Plymouth
    Luke Page, Diss Express
    Nathaniel Payne, Swindon Advertiser
    James Perris, Harrogate Advertiser
    Miriam Phillips, Dorset Echo
    Philip Pitt, Freelance
    Samantha Pope, Weston & Somerset Mercury
    Siobhan Prideaux, Bath Chronicle
    Catherine Pye, Lancashire Telegraph
    Emily Roberts, Epping Forest Guardian

    Jack Royston, Harrow Times
    Jonathan Schofield, Suffolk Free Press
    Joseph Shackley, Kentish Times
    Frank Smith, Watford Observer
    Lucy Tatchell, Worcester News
    Ruth Taylor, Shrewsbury Chronicle
    Mark Thompson, Hartlepool Mail
    Sean Topham, Horncastle News
    John Turner, Isle of Man Newspapers
    Adam Uren, Spalding Guardian

    Lloyd Vaughan, Somerset County Gazette
    James Wallin, Swindon Advertiser
    Emma Wherry, Cornish Guardian
    Emma Youle, The Journal, Newcastle
    Rebecca Younger, Surrey Advertiser


    ANON (14/08/2009 10:20:58)
    p…poor supervision and training on critically under-staffed papers just might play some part. There are some district offices, certainly in the north, where all the staff are unqualified trainees.
    Fat chance they have as they get lumbered with senior work for less than supermarket pay.
    I am amazed the pass rate is as high as it is.

    sorry can’t say (14/08/2009 16:21:13)
    and all the most experienced people have been made redundant.
    now imagine how this story would differ if it was us writing about a-levels rather than our own exams.
    well done to all those who passed anyway.
    and don’t worry you’ll get there to those who didn’t

    anon (14/08/2009 17:16:57)
    I wonder how many will get the pay rise that goes with the senior status?

    Cleland Thom (17/08/2009 10:05:52)
    We’re proud to have achieved a 100% pass rate among people who came on our NCE Refreshers – Cleland Thom, Director,

    stressed sub (17/08/2009 12:32:34)
    Love the mention of the sub’s NCE… ‘a page from scratch’ in just two hours’. TWO HOURS – chance would be a fine thing. No wonder the entries were excellent.