Dozens of teenagers gathered around Parkwood Academy’s entrance, clutching one of the most important envelopes they’ll ever open: that containing their GCSE results.
Some were rueful, some jubilant, some got what they expected, while others were surprised.
For Whitney Waggott, from Fir Vale, results day has been a cause for serious celebration.
Whitney finished school with an A*, five As, three Bs and two Cs. She’s now planning to go to All Saints Sixth Form College.
She said: “I think I’ve done well, I got an A*, five As, two Cs and I am very pleased with that. I can close the chapter on school now and go on to college.” Whitney worked hard for her results. “I was revising non-stop,” she said.
The 16 year-old now wants to study A-levels in English literature or language, textiles and psychology. “I am excited about it,” she said.
But until then, Whitney’s celebrating today’s good news. “I’m going dancing with my friends.”
Safianu Musah, from Southey Green, was equally pleased. Safianu, 16, who got three A*s, three As and five Bs, said: “I am very pleased with the results but I am most pleased about science. I want to study biochemistry at university so I want to study biology, chemistry, psychology and religious studies at A-level.
In September, Safianu starts at Tapton Sixth Form College. “I am really excited about that – and some of my friends are going there.”
As for celebrations, Safianu took a much more laid-back approach than Whitney. “I’m going to go home and sleep.”
Umar Wajid, 16, was also pleased with his results.
“I got seven As, one B and two Cs,” he said. “I am very excited and surprised that I got a C in English – I thought I would get a D.”
Umar, from Shirecliffe, will go on to study engineering, maths and physics at University Technical College.
The budding engineer has already shared the news with his family. “I phoned mum and she was very happy.”
Nicole Bestall, 16, said: “I got four A*s, one A, two Bs and six Cs and I am excited about that but I really put the work in. I already had an A in English but I was still nervous about the exams.”
But she doesn’t have time to party. “I work at Meadowhall so I am working later on but I’ll make up for it at the weekend.”
Nicole, from Shirecliffe, will study English at Hillsborough College and wants to be an English teacher.
Aijaz Keerio, 16, from Firth Park, finished school with five As, two Cs and two distinctions. He will go on to study A-level maths, physics, English language and IT in order – he hopes – to gain a place at Oxford and train as a software engineer.
“I feel really excited about the future and I will start at High Storrs in September.”
But today wasn’t all good news. Some students wished they’d tried harder, such as Jordan Whitefield, who left school with Ps, two Gs and Us.
For Jordan though, his passion is cooking, something he’s building on to achieve his dream of owning his own restaurant.
“I am starting an apprenticeship in cooking. I cook quite a bit at home and already make a mean lasagne.”
But he laments his time as school. “I am feeling that I could have done better.”
Headmaster Mike Westerdale said: “We are incredibly proud of our students who have achieved across a range of subjects, with some excellent individual performances including Umar Wajid, Safianu Musah, Whitney Waggott, Laselle Chantay-Pryce, Aaron Thorpe and Bethany Flower who have graduated from our partner primary schools of Longley, Watercliffe Meadows and Byron Wood.”