Almost 3,500 Wigan teenagers have been discovering whether the amount of work they put in over the last two years yielded the GCSE grades they deserved.
And early indications suggest there was a lot to celebrate for both pupils and their schools.
Youngsters have been facing tough new challenges in the exam stakes of late with the gradual introduction of tougher courses, many completely reliant on the final papers sat in May and June.
Nationally around one in five GCSE entries are expected to score one of the three top grades this year, but just a tiny fraction of teenagers is likely to walk away with a clean sweep of 9s under the new numerical system that has seen the back of A* to E grades.
Overall in Wigan, the initially reported detail shows that schools have increased the number of students attaining a strong pass in English and in mathematics separately.
The percentage of children achieving a standard pass has increased and the percentage of children achieving a strong pass in the combined English and mathematics measure has been maintained.
Under the new grading system, students with a Grade 4 will have achieved a “standard pass” while those with a Grade 5 will have achieved a “strong pass”.
Coun Jenny Bullen, portfolio holder for children and young people, said: “I’d like to congratulate all the young people who have worked very hard for these great GCSE results.
“We have high expectations for what our young people can achieve here in Wigan Borough and this is based on the ambition our students have demonstrated in their work towards today’s outcomes, together with the commitment of our teachers and the support of their parents.
“I would like to thank them all for their hard work and support in these achievements.
“We know that not everything is straightforward for everyone and for any young person who did not achieve the results they expected, please be assured you are not alone, there is a wide range of support available to assist you including that available directly from your school or college.”
Wigan Council has free advice available for young people through the Aspiring Futures team. Advisers will be based in the Wigan Life Centre and the Life Centre in Leigh, now based in Leigh library, today.
Many schools were reluctant to issue performance statistics because it is difficult to compare the new numerical results and tougher exams with the older, more course-work/continuous assessment A* to E ones.
In Wigan borough, the first school to issue details of its performance was St John Fisher RC High at Beech Hill, announcing that pupils had achieved better results than in previous years.
A number of pupils were rewarded with grade 9s, putting them with the highest performing pupils across the country.
Headteacher Alison Rigby said: “I am delighted for our pupils who have done so well and grateful to our parents who have supported us and them.
“I feel our results are heading in the right direction and I look forward to working with our experienced and committed staff to make further improvements over the coming years.
“These results are a credit to the staff and the pupils who have worked really hard this year.”
At Lowton High 70 per cent achieved a standard pass in five GCSE subjects including English and mathematics (A*-C in old money): a massive 10 per cent improvement from last year.
A spokesman said: “Our GCSE students have truly surpassed our expectations.
“They move on to the next stage in their lives’ journey ready to succeed, not only as a consequence of the record breaking results they have achieved, which were a significant improvement on last year’s examinations results, but because they leave us as wonderfully rounded, confident, independent members of our community.”
At Westleigh High headteacher Carlton Bramwell said: “Congratulations to the class of 2019 who through hard work and determination have gone on to secure our best examination result under an increasingly rigorous exams system.”
Among the highest achievers were students Daniel Pitt and Liam Preston who secured the much coveted gold standard grade 9 in multiple subjects, placing them in the top two per cent of the country for Computer Science, Maths, English Language and Biology.
Mr Bramwell added: “I am absolutely thrilled that the hard work and determination of students, parents and staff has produced such a significant improvement in academic outcomes.”
Despite controversy about the reformed GCSEs being difficult and stressful, the pupils at Ashton’s St Edmund Arrowsmith High were praised for “rising to the challenge” once again and produced top results for Wigan.
Pupils Caitlin Taylor, Matthew Eaves, Kate Naylor, Lauren Holcroft and James Gaskell were singled out for achieving a mixture of grades of 8 and 9.
Head Mark Dumican said: “We are delighted to see our pupils’ hard work and has paid off and their grades are a reflection of their talent and ambition. The teaching staff worked relentlessly on their behalf, and I am delighted and proud to be the leader of this fantastic community.”
Deanery High School headteacher Mark Wood celebrated “superb results across a wide range of GCSE subjects”.
He added: “Congratulations to all our pupils on their fantastic GCSE results. We are so proud that their hard work has paid off.
“It is really pleasing to see so many students achieve the grades they deserve after working so hard. We look forward to welcoming them into our Sixth Form and to celebrating further success in the future.
“Thank you also to all the staff at The Deanery for their dedication, care and professionalism in preparing pupils so well. It is great to see such excellent exam results, despite the more challenging exams.”
Shevington High School’s headteacher Julian Grant said: “Congratulations to our wonderful Year 11 students who collected their fantastic GCSE results today!
“Students were delighted with excellent exam success and we are extremely pleased that our headline figures have improved in every category this year with record results in English and maths.”
Ashton Cansfield High’s headteacher Geoff Baker said: “We have had a big improvement on every measure compared to last year. We are all very, very proud of our year 11s who have worked incredibly hard and it is reflected in their results.
“Not only have they excelled academically, they have also developed into mature and very pleasant young people ready for the big wide world.”
Atherton Community School saw its results improve with 63 per cent of students achieved a Grade 4+ in English and 60 per cent Grade 4+ in maths.
Head of School Ben Layzell said: “I, Miss Povey, our executive headteacher, and all the staff are very proud of our pupil’s achievements and would like to congratulate a number of our pupils for their individual academic success and excellent personal progress.
“The staff have worked incredibly hard and achieved the best results to date for ACS.”
Astley St Mary’s Chair of Governors Jack Farrimond expressed his sincere congratulations to this year group for their “resilience, determination and success.”
Dean Trust head of school Head of School Paula Phillips, said “Our results reflect the tenacious attitude of all of our pupils and staff here at Dean Trust Rose Bridge and we’re so proud to celebrate our best ever maths and English results.
“We’re delighted at the improvement and know that the trajectory we are on to improve the school is only going to get better.”
And headteacher of Up Holland High School Paul Scarborough added: “Congratulations to all our Year 11 students who have secured another set of fantastic results at Up Holland High School. The students demonstrated a real appetite for hard work and were really committed to their studies. This dedication and ambition has enabled them to secure bright and successful futures. We wish them all well in the next stage of their lives, confident they will do well.”