A summer of nerves finally came to an end yesterday as thousands of Wigan teenagers across the borough picked up their GCSE results.
After months of hard work, revision and tough exams, more than 3,000 members of the Class of 2018 arrived bright and early at the schools they just recently left, to see what their future held.
This year saw the introduction of the new marking system, replacing the traditional A*-G grades with a 1-9 scales; 1 being the lowest grade and 9 being the highest.
The system was rolled out across English and maths last year, but encompassed all subjects for the 2017-18 academic year.
And early indications show there are many positive outcomes for both pupils and their schools.
Overall, the initially reported detail shows that schools have maintained the number of students attaining a strong pass in English and in mathematics separately, but that there is an increase in the percentage of children achieving a strong pass in the combined English and mathematics measure.
And there were plenty of smiles and success stories across the borough.
Both staff and students at Standish Community High School were jubilant after the school celebrated its best ever GCSE results.
The outstanding performances of Year 11 students in the exams resulted in 95 per cent of pupils earn a grade 9-4 in English, and 86 per cent getting the same mark in maths - making an overall total of 85 per cent across the two subjects.
In biology, 98 per cent of students gained a 9-4, while there was an amazing 100 per cent pass rate at 9-4 across chemistry, physics, drama, and art.
Head of School, Lindsay Barker, said: “Our class of 2018 tackled the challenges and changes head on, and this has resulted in outstanding results for our students.”
Golborne High School, which rocketed up the league tables last year, again exceeded all expectations by also getting their best ever results. Over 90 per cent of pupils gained a standard pass in English, and 80 per cent did the same in maths. A quarter of pupils gained a grade 7 or higher in every subject.
Headteacher Alison Gormally said: “We are delighted with and incredibly proud of these results; they are an accurate reflection of the hard work and dedication of our students and staff. In a time of significant change within the GCSEs the students, staff and parents have demonstrated a collective resilience and tenacity to achieve these simply fantastic results. I would like to thank the staff for the incredible commitment they have shown to ensuring that every student is given an outstanding education and provided with the multifaceted support that they require as individuals.
At Fred Longworth High School in Tyldesley, students were also celebrating some hard-earned achievements.
Head teacher Janet Garretts, said: “Well done to all of our students, and the teachers and parents who worked with them to make these results possible.”
In the first year of the new GCSE grades, Ashton St Edmund Arrowsmith pupils have shown once again that they are reaching for the stars. Most students more than fulfilled their potential, with 30 per cent of grades in the upper grade boundary of 7-9.
Head teacher Mark Dumican said: “As staff, we are so proud of all of our pupils. They have achieved well academically as well as contributing to the wider life of the school during their time at St. Edmund Arrowsmith.
“The teachers have worked tirelessly on their behalf, and we wish all of our students the best of luck for the future.”
St John Fisher Catholic High School’s headteacher Alison Rigby praised some strong individual GCSE results.
Mrs Rigby took over at St John Fisher in the last school year and was especially pleased with the results in languages and humanities.
“We are pleased with the improvement in our overall attainment this year,” said Mrs Rigby.
“The number of pupils receiving a strong pass (Grade 5 and above) in languages and humanities has increased, reflecting the strength of these subjects in our school.
“Further we have improved our results in both strong (Grade 5 and above) and standard (Grade 4 and above) passes in English which demonstrates our continued focus on improving literacy levels for all our pupils.
“In light of the volatility of this year’s GCSEs, with new grade boundaries and a significant increase in the content, we are pleased our pupils made the progress they did and achieved the appropriate results.”
Wigan Council has free advice available through the Aspiring Futures team. Advisers will also be based in the Wigan Life Centre and the Life Centre in Leigh, now based in Leigh library, if young people wish to come down and speak to them.
There will also be two further events to discuss training, education or career options. These take place in Wigan town centre on Standishgate on Friday August 25 from 12pm to 3pm and in Leigh town centre on Bradshawgate on Tuesday August 28 from noon to 3pm.
There is also a NHS Public Health Traineeship event, being held at Wigan and Leigh College on Wednesday 29th August from 10am.
The Aspiring Futures team can also be contacted on Aspiring.Futures@wigan.gov.uk or 01942 828801.
. You can catch more GCSE results in next week's Wigan Observer