THOUSANDS of students across Southampton and Hampshire breathed a sigh of relief yesterday as months of uncertainty came to an end on GCSE results day.

After a tough 18 months of disruption to their education, teenagers discovered what their grades were on Thursday.

This year, youngsters received results determined by their teachers after exams were cancelled due to Covid.

Nationally, the number of pupils in England scoring a clean sweep of the highest grades increased by more than a third in a year.

Across Southampton, 77% per cent of pupils achieved a grade 4 to 9 in English, and 70% per cent of pupils achieved a grade 4 to 9 in Maths.

The figures, published by Southampton City Council, are based on the results reported by the 10 of the 12 secondary schools in the city.

However, due to the extraordinary circumstances surrounding the 2021 results, some schools have chosen not to publish their ‘headline figures’.

Across the city, schools celebrated their students, as thousands headed in to grab their results.

One school that did publish their results was Bitterne Park.

It said that 75% of students achieved a standard pass (Grade 9-4) and 50% a strong pass (Grade 9-5) in both English and Mathematics.

Headteacher Stewart Roderick said “We are immensely proud of our Year 11 students and are delighted that the hard work and determination shown, particularly over the last 18 months, has resulted in the impressive GCSE grades that they have achieved.

“These results build on those achieved by the 2019 and 2020 cohorts and are testament to the hard work, tenacity and resilience of our students and the support and guidance offered by their parents and carers.

“And finally, we wish all our graduating Year 11 students every success in the next stage of their education and training.”

At Cantell School, teaching staff said in spite of a “difficult year”, they were delighted to spend the morning celebrating the “well-earned” results with students.

“The results are a testament to their hard work, maturity and resilience throughout their GCSE courses,” the school said.

“It was a pleasure to meet up with them again and discuss the excellent results they secured and their future plans.”

Among the individual success stories was Nicolas who secured 9s in all of his GCSEs. He said “I’m delighted. The hard work really has paid off.” He is off to Barton Peveril to study A-Levels in Maths, Chemistry, Physics and Computer Science.

Harry Kutty, headteacher, said: “I am immensely proud of each and every student for what they have achieved. The relentless hard work of our staff and students has been rewarded today in these results.

“Our students have exciting futures ahead of them and I wish them every success for their futures.”

Another school raving about their results was St Anne’s.

The Catholic girl’s comprehensive school said their results “remain in line with what we have achieved in recent years”.

Headteacher James Rouse said: “The resilience and courage that these young people have had to exhibit over the past eighteen months is really amazing.

“They have had to progress through the largest disruption to education in decades and have done so magnificently. We are proud to see so many young people getting the grades that they have worked hard for against all the odds.”

He added: “Our message to year 11 is clear: Do not let what has happened over the last eighteen months distract you from the fact that you have been amazingly successful in such difficult circumstances.

“We are very proud of you and what you have achieved.”

At The Hamble School, headteacher Alaric Govan praised his students and their ‘excellent’ results.

He said: “We are very proud of all the Year 11 students. Over the last 2 years, they have experienced year closures and lockdowns.

“They have had to adapt to remote learning, which has necessitated them having to develop greater independence when learning new concepts. When they came back from the last lockdown, in March, they immediately had to study for and then take a range of assessments in preparation for these GCSE results.

“All of this they did with great determination and humour. These excellent results are a fitting conclusion for all of this hard work and effort. We would also like to thank all our staff and parents/ carers for their support.”

Congratulating the students, Southampton City Council’s education chief Cllr James Baillie said: “It’s been another difficult academic year with pupils missing time in classrooms due to the pandemic.

“Despite this difficult and disrupted year, it’s been great to see pupils working hard, together with teachers and parents and carers, to achieve such positive outcomes and everyone should feel proud of what they have achieved.

“Whether or not the results are what you hoped for, please don’t worry. Help, support and information is available to help guide you through your next steps.”

Council leader Dan Fitzhenry added: “Well done to all our city’s young people on their achievements during what has been a challenging period.

“We wish you all the best for your future endeavours.”