For the third year running, pupils in England were receiving GCSE results graded from 9 to 1 – rather than the traditional A*-E – under a reformed system originally introduced only for maths, English language and English literature.
The 9 to 1 grades were awarded in 25 more subjects for the first time this summer, bringing the total number of reformed GCSEs to 48. Changes to the GCSEs reflect the government’s intention that the qualifications better prepare students for further study and work, are more stretching for the most able students, and are designed to be accessible to the full range of students who have traditionally taken GCSEs.
Overall, there has been a slight increase in the GCSE pass rate in England, Wales and Northern Ireland – up 0.4 percentage points on last year, to 67.3%.
At La Retraite Girls’ School in Atkins Road, Clapham excited pupils gathered to collect the envelopes containing their results on Thursday morning. In total, 167 girls at the school took their GCSEs this year. Emilia Zabrzanska, 16, was among those who really excelled this year, getting eight grade 9 results, one grade 8 and one grade 6.
Emilia said: “I’m very pleased with my results, and have done better than I thought I would. There’s anticipation and nerves, but I did lots of revision, listened to the teachers and worked hard. I’m going to study biology, chemistry, physics and maths for A-level, and beyond that, I’d like to do medicine, or maths and physics.
“It has been a great experience doing my GCSEs here, I was nervous going into the first exam, but after that, it all calmed down a bit.
“I’ve spoken to my mum already, and she is delighted, very happy.”
Jessica Samuel, 16, was also celebrating, having achieved one grade 9, one grade 8, five grade 7s, two grade 6s and one grade 5.
Jessica said: “I think I did well, especially as during my revision it was quite stressful. But I managed to pull through in the end with the help of my teachers who were really good supporters. I had to do a lot of work, especially outside of school, but I’m a fast learner so when the exams came closer I really pushed on.
“I’ll be studying for A-levels at this school, and want to stay here because the teachers know me well which help me succeed with my further studies.”
Precious Kingsley-Nyinah, 16, was celebrating her five grade 7s and two grade 5s, as well as a Grade 8, grade 6 and a grade 3.
Precious said: “I’m feeling really shocked, but I also feel joy, because I wasn’t expecting to get certain grades, like sevens. But I got there so am delighted. My approach was self-belief and perseverance, and I got through because I knew that could bring positive results for me. It was hard over the two years, dealing with the study, but also life outside the classroom. Overall though I knew my goals and what I wanted, so I kept my head in that specific path.
“I’m planning to do A-levels at 6th form in English, literature, philosophy, media and sociology. But right I’m now looking forward to going home and sharing these results with my mum.”
Polly Victoria, 16, who had already achieved As in maths and Chinese in year 6 added to her excellent academic performance on Thursday morning by picking up an 88 in combined science, a grade 9, two grade 8s, a grade 7 and two grade 6s.
Polly said: “It’s great, I’m really happy with my grades. I listened to the teachers, that’s the number one, and then put in the effort from the start. Over the two-years it was stressful I have to admit, it was tiring, but I’d say just never give up. At the start concentrating was very hard, and you have so many subjects to cover, but you get in a routine.
“I’m going to do A-levels next at college and then hope to study computer science at university. I’d maybe like to go into cyber security as a career, but we’ll see.”
Cllr Jenny Brathwaite, Deputy Leader of the Council (Children and Young People), said: “We know how much hard work goes into studying for GCSEs and the results achieved by Lambeth’s pupils are just reward for that effort and commitment.
“All our pupils should be congratulated on what they have achieved – and we should also pay tribute to the support they have received from their families, teachers and schools.
“But these results are just the start of what these young people can achieve; they are now taking the next steps on their journey towards their future careers, whether they plan to go to college or start work now.
“I wish all our pupils every success – and I want them to know that we’ll do everything we can to help them fulfill their potential.”