IT was a day of mixed emotions as the 2015 GCSEs produced some of the most topsy-turvy results ever.
Rarely can there have been a year when schools have seen such big fluctuations in fortunes compared with previous performances.
And, on the back of a toughening in exam marking, for the first time in many a year, more schools appear to have seen their grades go down than up.
While there have been many star performances from individual pupils, there have been several dramatic falls in cohort performances.
Of the schools who have submitted their figures so far, the biggest victim of this was Hawkley Hall High School.
The academy has won wide acclaim in recent years for making huge and rapid strides in improving its grades - from below average to one of the borough’s best.
For the first time in many years we are very disappointed with our GCSE results - although many students have achieved incredible success with A*/As across the board, our overall mathematics pass rate has fallen by 17 per centRoy Halford - Hawkley Hall head teacher
But this year it saw the perecentage of pupils gaining five or more A* to C grades (known as 5EM) tumble from 75 to 57 and leaving a shocked principal to question some of the marking.
Roy Halford said: “For the first time in many years we are very disappointed with our GCSE results. Although many students have achieved incredible success with A*/As across the board, our overall mathematics pass rate has fallen by 17 per cent bringing the 5EM figure down to 57 per cent.
“Our staff have been very accurate in their predictions to within a couple of percent points for several years and we were expecting around 71 per cent 5EM.
“We have the same excellent maths teachers as in previous years. They have taught to the same standard and used the same preparation methods running up to the final exams and yet our maths pass rate is not what we expected. Something is not right this year and we will be submitting an application for the maths exam papers to be remarked.”
The Deanery High saw its 5EM drop from 69 per cent to 57.4 and Shevington High’s fell from 72 to 62.4, although their respective headteachers chose in their statements to focus on indiviual achievements.
Orrell St Peter’s just clung onto the borough league table’s top spot, despite a small 5EM decrease from 80 per cent to 78.3.
Headteacher Andy McGlown said: “Every year it seems that the exam system brings a new set of challenges and certainly it is not getting any easier to achieve good results.
“We are very pleased with the achievements of all of our students and wish them every success in their future careers. Staff and students have worked extremely hard to produce these grades and we are very proud of them.”
One of the minority of schools to see its 5EM go up was Standish High, the figure rising from 72 to 78. Deputy head Lindsay Barker said: “We are really pleased with these results, particularly when you take into consideration the current climate of change and the fact that there has been a national decline in higher grades.”
And Hindley High also celebrated a huge increase from 40 per cent up to 53.4.
Other schools which saw gains included Leigh’s Bedford High (up from 48 to 57), Golborne (57 compared to last year’s 55) and Lowton High (up from 47 to 53).