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New seniors smash record as NQJ pass rate hits 74pc

NCTJ logoA record-breaking proportion of candidates have achieved senior status after sitting the National Qualification in Journalism, the latest results have revealed.

In all, 51 of the 69 journalists who sat last month’s exams are now seniors after passing – representing 74pc of candidates who sat the exam at eight different centres.

It is the highest pass rate in the 10 sittings since the NQJ was introduced three years ago to replace the National Certificate in Journalism (NCE).

The previous record of 72pc was equalled at the March 2015 sitting, having been set the previous July.

NCTJ chief examiner Steve Nelson said: “The pass rate had dipped to 61 per cent in both of the previous two sittings, so I am delighted to see this improvement.

“The best figures came from the media law and practice section, and this reflects the increased focus on legal and ethical issues by the NCTJ following the Leveson inquiry and introduction of IPSO.”

Candidates must be successful in all four parts of the NQJ – interview, media law and practice, logbook and news report – to pass and achieve senior status.

Of the 69 candidates who sat last month, 50 were taking the exam for the first time and 19 were re-sitting.

The media law and practice paper produced a best-ever pass rate of 90pc, with 53 of 59 candidates successful.

Fifty two out of 66 who sat the news report exam passed, a pass rate of 79pc, while there were 47 successful candidates, or 77pc, of the 61 who sat the news interview exam.

In the e-logbook section, there was a 91 per cent pass rate, with 50 successful candidates from 55 who submitted their work.

Reflecting on the exam overall, Steve added: “The only disappointment was the failure of several candidates to complete the logbook correctly, resulting in overall fails.”

The full list of newly-qualified seniors is as follows:

Stuart Anderson, The News, Portsmouth

Christopher Anderson, The Reading Chronicle

Anthony Barej, Hertfordshire Mercury

Rachel Barr, Crawley News & East Grinstead Courier

Sophie Biddle, Eastern Daily Press

James Byrne, Congleton Chronicle

Eleanor Cambridge, Surrey Comet

Andrew Colley, Bucks Free Press

Rachel Conner, The Northern Echo

Phoebe Cooke, Newham Recorder

Patrick Dinham, Hertfordshire Mercury

Anna Dove, The Scotsman

Katie French, Mid Devon Gazette

Elizabeth Fry, Burton Mail

Duncan Geddes, Hampshire Chronicle

Francesca Gillett, South Wales Argus

Judith Hawkins, Grantham Journal

Kirsty Hough, Braintree & Witham Times

Ian Paul Johnson, The Scarborough News

Jack Johnson, Oxford Mail

Ciaran Kelly, South Wales Argus

Andrew Lawton, Gazette & Herald

John Lucas, Braintree & Witham Times

Kieran Lynch, Eastern Daily Press

Sophie Madden, Shropshire Star

Amy-Clare Martin, Kent & Sussex Courier

Ed McConnell, Kent Messenger

Matthew McKew, Isle of Wight County Press

Briana Millett, Weston Worle & Somerset Mercury

Simon Murfitt, Brentwood Gazette

Sebastian Murphy-Bates, Barking & Dagenham Post

George Odling, The Richmond & Twickenham Times

Ruth Ovens, Wells Journal

Ian Parker, Suffolk Free Press

Christopher Peddy, Derby Telegraph

Joshua Pennington, Winsford & Middlewich Guardian

Eleanor Perkins, East Kent Mercury

Eleanor Pipe, Sidmouth Herald

Annabel Rusbridge-Thomas, Kent Messenger

Mark Shales, Newham Recorder

Rebecca Louise Shepherd, Surrey Advertiser

Florence Snead, Cambridge News

Luke Sproule, Oxford Mail

Rebecca Catrin Taylor, Wandsworth Guardian

Georgina Townshend, Surrey Advertiser

Toby Wadey, Bournemouth Daily Echo

William Walker, Newbury Weekly News

Harriet Whitehead, Scunthorpe Telegraph

Joseph Wilkes, Mid Somerset Newspapers

Daniel Wright, Kentish Gazette

Sarah Yates, Bury Times & The Bolton News


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  • April 13, 2016 at 9:20 am

    Excellent. Plenty of long and rewarding careers in local journalism are about to begin then, though some of these post-grad luminaries may note that my neighbour’s son, possessed of precisely three GCSEs, is earning more as a supermarket deli counter trainee manager than the uber-qualified young reporters in the newsroom where I work. Try this spicy German salami, madam, I can thoroughly recommend it…

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  • April 13, 2016 at 10:09 am

    Congratulations to all concerned, great job. And I’m sure, while Dick’s misgivings are understandable, that there is a future out there for fully qualified journalists.

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  • April 13, 2016 at 12:28 pm

    …and Dick by aptitude, voice of reason, UK. But, it’s true what they all say, your’s is the only voice worth listening to these days and I’ll take my medicine. Anyway, before a poster points out that middle-class “qualified” journalists aim for higher things than deli managers, may I just point out that the supermarket in question offers assisted support all the way to the top if you’re good enough – and that includes those not educated at public school (gasp). I’d like to revisit this list (and there are some splendid names on it I know) in five years’ time to see what’s become of everybody. I bet there won’t be many newspaper journalists on it but you can’t keep talent down so there’ll be plenty of high achievers in other fields. Good luck one and all.

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  • April 13, 2016 at 8:39 pm

    Congratulations Luke Sproule, Jack Johnson and Chris Anderson. All first time passes.

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  • April 23, 2016 at 1:53 pm

    Congratulations to John Lucas. Was a great work experience student when he came to us and was clearly destined for a bright future.

    And as for the comment about pay/careers, I’m not sure anyone goes into it for the salary. You could offer me quadruple my wage to return to the meat and fish counters of the supermarket where I worked while freelancing but I’d not take it in a million years!

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