A-LEVEL results day is one of the most significant in a young student’s life.

Get the ‘right’ results and it’s off to uni for three or four years.

Get the ‘wrong’ results and it’s tears before bedtime.

Apparently, this year the number of top A-level grades is at a six-year high, despite the introduction of new ‘tougher’ exams.

In total, 26.4 per cent of students were awarded either an A or A* this year, the highest since 2012.

And for the second year running, boys are gaining more of the highest grades than girls, with 26.2 per cent of girls achieving As or A*s compared to 26.6 per cent of boys.

This is the second year in a row that the A*-A pass rate has risen.

They are the stark figures but behind them is a lot of hard work from students, teachers and dare I suggest parents.

It is a long time since I was at school and it’s fair to say I found it tough going so I have tremendous admiration for the current generation of students – the so-called Generation Z – who seem to be more serious, focussed and less frivolous than their predecessors.

They appear to have the drive and application to do well And yet, as happens every year, it seems there are those quick to knock their achievements.

According to one national newspaper, pass marks were lowered for the new, tougher A-levels, so students weren’t ‘disadvantaged’ for being guinea pigs of the new system.

Apparently, grading was lenient to compensate for the fact that students picking up their exam results on Thursday were among the first to take the reformed courses.

Setting the grade boundaries lower ensured that roughly the same proportion of students get top grades as in previous years.

For many subjects, coursework and modules have been axed with students being tested on the entire two-year course with ‘old fashioned’ final exams.

The reforms followed concerns from universities that school leavers were insufficiently prepared for the demands of higher education.

Be that as it may, I just think it is really sad that we can’t just celebrate success. Is there something in our national psyche that means we have to bring those smart alecs down a peg or two?

Our young people worked hard to gain the rewards they deserve. Let’s just leave it at that, shall we?

READER Keith Murray picked up on my reference to Bally Ann Day last week. He said: “You asked re Bally Ann Day. I hadn’t heard of it but we just starved in Warrington!

“Did a quick Google and found some interesting comments.

“Best I think is a corruption of Banyan Days. Banyans were vegetarian Hindus. I found Banyan day was Navy slang for no meat day.

“Or Australian slang for a frugal meal of mashed potatoes etc.

“Another theory was that your belly was anged! All agreed that it was served on the day before pay day.

“I saw one reference that Banyan was served three days in the workhouse with lobscouse on three days and boiled beef on Sunday.”

Thanks to Keith for that but my personal favourite explanation is that Bally Ann was a more polite and child friendly way of saying b....r all.