A table of GCSE results for 1989-1990 shows 62 per cent of girls achieved grades A to C in the South-east, compared with 49.8 per cent of girls in Wales. The best boys could manage was 49 per cent in the South-east. This dropped to 32 per cent in Wales.
The South-west has the best record in the United Kingdom for ensuring that pupils leave school with some form of qualification - about 95 per cent.
At A-level, pupils in Northern Ireland out-perform other regions, with nearly one in five passing three or more - 17.2 per cent of boys and 21.4 per cent of girls. But the province has one of the worst records for pupils leaving school with no qualifications. For girls the figure is 10.9 per cent and for boys 19.6 per cent.
This compares with the South-west which has the best set of figures for successful pupils overall in the UK with only 3.9 per cent of its girls and 5.4 per cent of its boys leaving school with no qualifications.
More than three out of four 16-year-olds stayed on at school or went on to further education in Scotland in 1990-1991 - higher than anywhere else in the UK.