TEARS of joy and surprise flowed as pupils learnt the results of their GCSEs.
Four schools across the borough – Cowplain School, Crookhorn College, Horndean Technology College and Oaklands Catholic School – all saw increases in the rate of students leaving with at least five GCSEs at A* to C grades, including maths and English – what’s known as the ‘gold standard’.
Among the highest achievers this year was Jess Comlon, who attained a staggering nine A*s at Cowplain Community School.
The former head girl, 16, excelled in biology, chemistry, physics, history, geography, maths, religious education and English language and literature
Jess, from Denmead, was left ‘shocked’ by her three additional As in French, psychology and business studies.
She said: ‘I’m really pleased, it was just a relief to get those results. I was incredibly nervous in the morning, I actually felt really ill.’
Having shown expertise in the sciences, Jess is aspiring to work in medicine, and is set to study biology, chemistry, maths and geography at Havant College.
She said: ‘I think there’s a really nice atmosphere there and hopefully I’ll get on quite well.
‘I hope to get into a really good medical school, but I guess it’s really competitive so we’ll have to see.’
Cowplain Community School’s headteacher, Ian Gates, developed a close working relationship with Jess during her time as head girl, and describes her as an ‘all-rounder’ who was popular with staff and students alike.
He said: ‘She was always positive and willing to accept any challenges, and she was always smiling and always happy.
‘I think she set the standard for herself, so hopefully in two years’ time we’ll hear of some fantastic A-level results from her.
‘I am sure she will be very successful.’
Jess’ dad, Neil Comlon, says that his daughter’s grades were well-earned and reflect her ‘strong personal drive’.
He said: ‘I’m proud indeed, but she put a lot of effort in.
‘I wasn’t as on edge as Jess was, as I think that because of the amount of effort she put in she had to get some good results – I was quite confident.’
Meanwhile, Alison Porter, 16, celebrated similar success at Crookhorn College in Waterlooville, walking away with seven A*s in English, French, maths, geography, biology, chemistry, physics and religious education.
She said: ‘I was so anxious and so nervous before coming in, but now I’m really happy.’
Crookhorn’s new headteacher, Sarah Bennett, said that she was delighted in the results, which included a six per cent increase in students getting five A*-Cs, not including maths and English.
She said: ‘The students worked incredibly hard, and we were particularly pleased in the way in which the English language and literature results have been absolutely exceptional.’
Luc Garner-Gibbons, 16, stood out at Warblington School, opening his envelope to find seven As in maths, French, music, biology, chemistry, physics and English literature.
Luc, from Hayling Island, said: ‘I worked so hard for this.
‘I focused most of my effort on triple science, but I think it all paid off in the end.’
Warblington headteacher, Julie Vincent, showed satisfaction in this year’s results, with 56 per cent of pupils attaining the ‘gold standard’ five A*-C grades, including English and maths.
She said: ‘We are very proud of all our students’ achievements. The successes of our students are grounded in the solid relationships fostered at the school and our dedicated staff who have worked tirelessly with the students to achieve these results.’
Battling adversity to learn life lessons, other pupils showed that you didn’t need A* grades to be a high achiever.
Lauren Townsend, 16, defied her issues with low confidence during her time at Park Community School in Leigh Park, and emerged ‘particularly happy’ with a B in maths.
Lauren, from Bedhampton, also bagged Cs in English language and history, and looks forward to studying journalism at South Downs College.
She said: ‘I think I did really well for myself, knowing I wasn’t exactly confident at first.’
‘It’s basically nothing to stress out about – all you’ve got to do is just relax, and realise that you can do it.
‘Just believing in yourself and knowing that you tried your hardest and gave it everything is just what makes it worth it in the end.’