Changes to GCSE exams don't take away delight as Sheffield pupils get results

Westfield head boy and girl Lewis Robinson and Lilly Yarnell-Gafne.
Westfield head boy and girl Lewis Robinson and Lilly Yarnell-Gafne.
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Much of the talk leading up to GCSE results day this year was about whether changes to maths and English exams would make them more difficult.

Pupils opening their envelopes this morning were looking out for the usual alphabetical grades, but also trying to figure out what their numerical scores from 9 down to 1 meant.

The Government's new system, which will be rolled out across all subjects in the next few years, had caused worry among teachers and pupils as exams were sat.

Nationally about 2,000 pupils got the top 9 grade in all three exams, and there were 50,000 grade 9s overall.

But for most pupils at schools across the city, yesterday was a day of relief and delight.

At Handsworth Grange Community Sports College staff rolled out the red carpet and served glasses of bubbly - lemonade, not Champagne - to teenagers and their families.

Handsworth Grange Community College students Abby Houghton and Mohammed Monsur Alam

Handsworth Grange Community College students Abby Houghton and Mohammed Monsur Alam

Sapha Habib was particularly pleased with her grade 9 in English language, as well as two A*s, two As and four Bs.

"I can't actually believe it," she said.

"I put in so much effort and I'm so happy to see it pay off."

Sapha said she was worried going into her exams, but was pleased now to look forward to studying A-levels in English language, politics, history and sociology at Tapton School's sixth form.

Lucy Hattersley, Emily Nicholson, Tilly Simpson and Lauren Butler at Eckington School.

Lucy Hattersley, Emily Nicholson, Tilly Simpson and Lauren Butler at Eckington School.

And she hopes to do well enough to go on and study English at the London School of Economics in two years' time.

Classmate Abdul Saleh was also pleased, having passed all his subjects apart from one science and statistics.

"That's what I expected - I'm feeling happy," he said.

For Abdul, who will also go to Tapton School in September, it hasn't been a summer of anxious waiting.

Charlotte Kennedy, Ciaran Yates, Jacob Ward and Theo Snelson at Notre Dame High School.

Charlotte Kennedy, Ciaran Yates, Jacob Ward and Theo Snelson at Notre Dame High School.

"I haven't really been thinking about it until today," he said.

"I just did the exams, I wasn't worried."

At Westfield School in Sothall there were a number of standout performances.

Head girl Lilly Yarnell-Gafney was overcome with emotion when she opened her envelop to see two grade 9s, and 8, five A*s and an A.

After sharing a few tears with her family, she said: "It's a really proud moment.

"I wasn't worried because I knew I had done the work, but I really wanted to know what I had got. I worked really hard."

Megan Turner at Westfield School

Megan Turner at Westfield School

Lily was nervous leading up to her exams, mostly because of the changes.

"They were a lot harder," she said. "Because the Government hadn't released much information it was really hard to gauge."

Lily will go on to study A-levels at Dronfield Henry Fanshawe School, and hopes to do well enough to get a place at Oxford or Cambridge universities.

Also going to Henry Fanshawe is Mark Lloyd, who got one A*, two As, three Bs, an 8, a 7 and a 5.

He was particularly happy with the A* and As as they were in his favoured subjects, history, computing and business.

"I had put the work in and was hoping to get As in the main ones," he said. "But to see them on paper is a good feeling."

And Newfield School in Norton Lees was celebrating another year of improvement since it was taken over by Mercia Learning Trust.

Laura Simpson put herself among the very best in the country with her three grade 9s and nine A*s.

Jennifer Anstey was thrilled with her six A*s, on A, a 9 and two 7s.

"I was really nervous for months but I'm happy today," she said. "It's better than what I was expecting - I did work hard but you are never quite sure."

She will go on to study A-levels at Silverdale School, while classmate Reuben Tozer-Loft will start at King Edward VII School next month.

He got three A*s, three As, a B, two 9s and an 8.

"English was a big one for me and it was quite a lot higher than expected," he said.

"Because it was the new GCSE I had no idea what to expect."

Stocksbridge High School.

Stocksbridge High School.

Grace Kirton and Joe McGrath at Newfields.

Grace Kirton and Joe McGrath at Newfields.

Hannah Grayson and Megan Flower at Westfields.

Hannah Grayson and Megan Flower at Westfields.