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Lowest pass rate in almost five years as new seniors unveiled

NCTJ-logo-final-RGB-e1357555115357The proportion of journalists passing their senior exams has fallen to its lowest rate in almost five years.

Fifty-five per cent of trainees who sat the National Qualification in Journalism exams in March achieved senior status after a round of sittings affected by adverse weather conditions.

Heavy snow on the day of the scheduled exams on 2 March meant a small number of exam centres were unable to open, and the National Council for the Training of Journalists offered a special sitting on 23 March for candidates affected by the closures.

Of the 42 candidates who sat the exams, 23 were successful in all four parts – media law and practice, news report, news interview and e-logbook.  The 55pc pass rate is the lowest since the 49pc pass rate in July 2013.

For the third NQJ in a row, there was a 100pc pass rate for e-logbook, while there was an overall pass rate of 65pc in the media law and practice exams, with 24 of 37 candidates being successful.

The moderator said there were “a number of good submissions from candidates which led to some strong competition for the overall logbook prize”, while those successful in the law exam were praised for their “logical approach, allied to knowledge”.

The news report exams produced an overall pass rate of 55pc, with 23 successful candidates from the 42 who sat the exams, while the news interview papers had an overall pass rate of 64pc, with 27 successful candidates from the 42 who sat.

The moderator said, of both exams, that those who passed had a readable writing style, caught the drama and included strong quotes.

The next NQJ exam sitting will take place on Friday 6 July, and the closing date for enrolment is Friday 25 May.

The full list of successful candidates was as follows:

Hollie Bone, Harrogate Advertiser
Kieran Beattie, Aberdeen Press & Journal
Milo Boyd, Reading Chronicle
Ricky Charlesworth, Yorkshire Post
Katherine Clementine, Surrey Advertiser
Emma Crichton, Inverness Courier
Michael Drummond, Worthing Herald
Estel Farell Roig, South Wales Argus
Nicholas Gullon, The Northern Echo
James Hockaday, Maidenhead Advertiser
Rebecca Hudson, Salisbury Journal Newspapers
Samuel Jackson, Leamington Spa Courier
Christopher Jaffray, Aberdeen Press & Journal
Anna Khoo, Chichester Observer
Nicholas Marko, Lancashire Telegraph
Ryan Merrifield, Worcester News
Richard Mills, Wiltshire Times
Harriet Orrell, Eastern Daily Press
Jonathan Rees, The Mail
Jordan Reynolds, Shropshire Star
Samantha Spowart, Hexham Courant
Stephen Topping, Wilmslow Guardian
Cheuk Ling Ann Yip, Get Surrey


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  • April 10, 2018 at 11:29 pm

    There are two sides to this.
    On one hand it is heartening to see the NCTJ is not further dropping its standards to get higher pass rates. It must be under immense pressure to do so (if they decline too far some newspaper exec will come up with an in-house alternative which will pass everyone and cost less, HURRAH) but this would be the final straw for our declining industry.
    While some naturally struggle with exams, they are, for most people, a test of reasonable competence and should remain so.

    On the flip side, in an industry which cannot employ staff photographers, has done away with subs and bows to the Gods of clickbait in an attempt to get some online ad revenue, you have to wonder how much companies are investing in training?

    Still, no pay rises for qualification keeps the wages down so it’s not all bad news at head office…

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  • April 11, 2018 at 1:22 pm

    Congratulations to Michael Drummond and Anna Khoo – both have worked very hard to get their senior qualifications. Well done to the others, too.

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  • April 11, 2018 at 2:35 pm

    I suspect lack of experienced staff to tutor trainees is not helping. Congrats to all those who passed. They deserve it.

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