JUBILANT schools across Portsmouth celebrated their best-ever GCSE results as talented students walked away with glowing grades.
Many secondary schools smashed records they previously set and saw the bulk of their students bag places at their desired colleges.
Portsmouth Academy for Girls, in Fratton, came out one of the most rapidly-improved schools in the country, with 64 per cent of its pupils achieving the ‘gold standard’ of five or more GCSEs at A* to C, including English and maths. Last year it recorded 48 per cent at the gold standard.
St Edmund’s Catholic School, which earlier this year became the first state secondary school in Portsmouth in seven years to be awarded an ‘outstanding’ Ofsted report, continued to ride the wave of success as 73 per cent of its students picked up the top marks – the best set of results in the city for a state school.
It was a historic day for Southsea’s Priory School, as 57 per cent of its students achieved the gold standard, an 11-per-cent improvement on last year and its finest performance to date.
And for Mayville High School pupil Adam Williams, it was almost the perfect day as he got 11 A*s.
The 16-year-old has now taken the next step towards achieving his ambition of becoming a doctor.
Adam said: ‘I’m really surprised and also delighted with my results. The school has really helped me, and because it is small the teachers know everyone and offer so much support.’
His proud mum, Jayne Williams, said: ‘He has done the work and really deserves the grades. I am really proud of him.’
Mayville headteacher Rebecca Parkyn said: ‘Once again our pupils have produced excellent GCSE results. We are delighted with these results which show what persistent hard work and excellent teaching can achieve. Behind the headline statistics there are always significant personal success stories.’
Overall, 55 per cent of all Portsmouth pupils achieved five or more A* to C GCSEs, including English and maths, compared to 51 per cent last year. And 58 per cent got A* to C in English and maths, up from 53 per cent.
Alishia Robinson, of Southsea, who is the youngest student in the year group at Portsmouth Academy for Girls, achieved seven A*s and four As.
She said: ‘I’m really proud; I didn’t expect my grades to be that good, I was really surprised, but in a good way.’
Alishia is now off to Peter Symonds College, in Winchester, to study English literature, art, media studies and sociology at A-level.
Meanwhile, emotions ran high at St John’s College, in Southsea, as students celebrated better grades than expected.
Seventy-eight per cent of pupils achieved A* to C, up from 62 per cent last year, while the overall pass rate was 97 per cent.
Tearful Anya Stuart, 16, clinched eight A*s, one A, one B and a C.
She said: ‘I didn’t think I’d get an A* in maths, not by a long shot.’
Aine Maunder, who picked up an A, three Bs and three Cs, had the support of her 11-year-old sister Ellie Maunder.
Aine said: ‘It’s nice that she’s come along to support me in picking up my grades. I’m really proud of what I’ve achieved.’
Choir member Angus Mcintosh, 16, who travelled back from a music performance in Cornwall to pick up his results, got four A*s and six As.
Other students celebrating good results were friends Lola Baldry, Charlotte Elford, Courtney-Leigh Hardyman, and Ellie Chambers.
The four friends, all aged 16, all received high A* to C grades at Mayfield School in North End.
Courtney, from North End, received the highest grades – three A*s, six As, two Cs. She is now going on a scholarship to Portsmouth Grammar School to study biology, history, and government A-levels.
She said: ‘It is amazing, I put a lot of time and effort into it. I play a lot of sport and had to put that on hold for my exams but it has been worth it as it’s all paid off now.’
Other school friends who were looking forward to a bright future were Oakley March, 16, from Fratton and Chloe Legg, 16, from Southsea.
The pair go to Charter Academy and are now going to South Downs College to study musical theatre.
Oakley, who got three As, two Bs, and five Cs, said: ‘I thought I was going to fail so I am very happy.’
Chloe, who got an A*, an A, three Bs, five Cs, said: ‘I was really nervous but now I’ve opened my results I feel like a weight has been lifted from my shoulders. I feel so happy.’