Published: 08:00, 22 August 2019
| Updated: 09:38, 23 August 2019
Just a week after A-level students collected their results, it's now time for GCSEs.
But it's not just GCSE results which are out today - those who chose BTEC options will also be picking up that important envelope.
These young people will then begin a new chapter of their lives, either at sixth form, college or on a work training scheme.
Numbered grading system
More GCSE subjects are being graded using the number system this year, with 9 being the top score and 1 the lowest.
This has been phased in since 2017 to replace the previous A* to G grades.
Starting with English and maths, the new number system is now being used for almost all GCSE subjects.
Highworth Grammar School saw a sterling performance from all its students, with 40% of all grades being an 8 or a 9.
Altogether, 64.8% of all returned tests were scored as a 7,8, or 9 - the equivalent of an A* or A.
One high-achiever, Libby Moore said she "definitely did better than I was expecting" after picking up 8 top grades, two Level 8s and an A.
Another student, 16-year-old Ellen Beach, received a host of 7s and 8s before giving advice for students coming into their GCSEs.
She said: "Don't stress too much and advise early.
"I've really liked it here, the teachers were really supportive and it's a great school."
With almost 21% of exam-takers achieving 9 to 7 grades in all their tests and more that 70% attaining five or more of the top grades, head teacher Paul Danielsen was beaming.
He said: "The results we've had this year are the best we've ever seen at GCSE, so we're ecstatic.
"They really deserve it, it's a lot of hard work from the students, staff and parents supporting them from home.
"It's been a fantastic year group. We thought they'd do well but not this well - they've exceeded our expectations and I'm delighted with this year's results.
Wye Free School welcomed another very strong year of results, despite it only being their second year of having GCSE-takers.
Almost three quarters of students achieved five or more grade 4s and above, signallng an increase from their first set of results.
Half of all pupils attained a grade 5 - representing a B - or higher in both maths and English, another improvement on last year.
The school's highest achievers were Sophie Wildman, who achieved two 9s, three 8s, three 7s and two 6s, and India Niles, whose results included two 9s in Maths and Chemistry, three 8s, one 7 and one 6.
Luke Magee, Principal of Wye School, said: “Everyone in the school is to be congratulated on these results which show an improvement on our first year’s strong performance. With these grades, our students will now be able to enter our flourishing Sixth Form and continue their education here.
“These results build on a very successful year at the school and we look forward to the academic year ahead, our first in our stunning new buildings.”
Parents were also celebrating with their children today.
Alison and David Polley said of their daughter’s experience at Wye School: “I have always felt that Wye School has supported and nurtured my daughter, not only helping with the academic side but also helping my daughter become a wonderful young adult.
"We feel truly lucky to have had Wye as our daughter’s school.”
The John Wallis Academy enjoyed an excellent year, with many students getting better results than they expected.
Principal John McParland said that the results "exemplify the excellent progress students continue to make at our academy."
Two students, Ishaaq and Rabin Limbu, stood out after exceeding their targets by 3-5 grades in all subjects.
Ishaaq said: "I'm very happy with these results. It reflects how hard I worked in my revision."
"I'm excited to go and tell my family, hopefully I'll get a reward!"
One of the school's top performers, Julia Dubczak, wants to use her results to springboard herself on to future studies.
"I'm really proud of myself, I didn't expect a 7 in physics which I really struggled with in the year!"
"I want to go to Oxford to do economics, so I'm excited to try my best in A-levels next year."
Perhaps one of the most heartwarming stories, however, came from Syrian student Maya Alhowesh.
Maya came to the UK as a refugee with her family less than a year ago, without speaking a word of English, and having missed 4 years of school.
She came away today with a 9 in Arabic, 4's in science and maths, and 3's in English language and literature.
Maya wants to become a doctor after seeing the effects of war in her home country, and will repeat her year so that she can get the grades she needs to follow that goal.
The Towers School proudly displayed a fantastic set of results this morning, with10% of their entries achieving 7-9 (A/A*) grades, while 40% achieved the equivalent of a B or above.
The school were particularly proud of the large number of students who achieved Grade 9s, which puts them within the top 4% of results nationally.
The school's top performer was Rachel Pickard, who acme in with two 8's and three 9's, as well as a distinction in one of her BTEC exams.
There were also happy tears for Jodie East and Lizzy Laws, both of whom achieved fantastic results beyond what they expected.
Jodie said: "I almost don't really know how I feel, I'm just so pleased, it's like a dream!
"Months of worrying and it's come out so well. I'm hoping to go to Canterbury Academy, and hopefully end up on stage in the future."
Lizzy said: "I'm very overwhelmed by my results because they're a lot better than I expected them to be.
"I didn't expect to get a 9 in English literature because it was such a hard paper."
It wasn't just year 11's at the school who were celebrating their results. Daniel Searle took two GCSEs a year early.
He said: "I think for a year 10 I've got good results, and I'm really happy and looking forward to year 11, where hopefully I'll improve more."
Principal, Richard Billings said“We were delighted to celebrate with our students this morning, as they saw their hard work and commitment paying off.
"As ever, I would like to thank the parents for their amazing support of the school and everything we are trying to achieve; and the staff and Trustees for their complete dedication”
Benenden School saw excellent results this year, with 34% of all tests being awarded the top grade.
Overall 60% were marked at Level 8 or 9 - equivalent to an A* in the old system - an improvement of 3% compared to last year.
Of the 89 students in the year group, one fifth achieved nothing less than a Level 8 grade.
The top achiever, Bee McDougall, got an amazing eleven 9s and an A*, with two other girls attaining the top rating in at least ten subjects.
Headmistress Samantha Price said: "What a wonderful set of results, the girls should be immensely proud that all their enormous hard work and dedication has paid off so incredibly.
"These reformed GCSEs are designed to challenge students more rigorously than ever before and the Benenden girls have risen admirably to this challenge.
“I am particularly pleased that the girls have achieved these results at the same time as embracing an array of co-curricular activities such as music, sport, drama, outdoor education and volunteering in the local community.”
North School students were left smiling after finding out all their hard work had been worth it.
Top achievers were Erin Robertson, whose nine GCSEs - all graded 5 or above - included 8 in maths, 8/7 in science and 7s in English.
Joe Battle attained an 8/9 in science, 8s in history and maths and 7s in English literature and geography.
Callum Budden got one step closer to following his dream of joining the Royal Marines with six GCSEs, saying: "I needed at least a level 4 in maths so that I can go to college before applying to the Marines, and the school really helped by putting on extra classes.
“I was motivated by the thought of college and encouraged by my teachers, and I am astounded at how well I managed to do."
Jino Muruganantharuban, also smashed his aim of acquiring a 7 or above in science in order for him to stay on at the school to study A-level biology.
Despite extensive training with the North School's basketball academy, he got a 7/8 grade in the subject as well as an 8 in maths.
He said: “I put a lot of effort in but also benefited from really helpful teachers,”
Head teacher Anna Lawrence remarked: "We are very proud of what our students and staff have achieved as a result of hard work and commitment.
"Helping and inspiring students achieve the best results they are capable of so that they can go on to pursue their individual dreams is the school’s ultimate goal, and I am delighted that this year’s GCSE results reflect that ambition.
“We are also very pleased to see year-on-year improvements in our English, mathematics and science scores, while computing science and PE also showed exceptional progress and top grades.
“These results justify the confidence our local community has in the school and we look forward to many of today’s students joining us again in September to begin their sixth form studies.”
Homewood School enjoyed a spread of highly successful outcomes, as their students collected both GCSE and Level 2 results.
A number of subjects including Chinese, social care, photography and more all had over 80% of students achieving grade 4 or above, while maths and English both have over 60% at that margine.
A number of students picked up the top grades of 7-9 (equivalent to a A/A* on the old system), with several standout performers.
Liam Macmillan came away with 9's in English literature and language, as well as six grade 8's among others, while Dylan Larking had three 9's and two BTEC distinctions for animal care.
Overall, there were eight students who achieved six or more grades of 7 and above.
Meanwhile, there were smiles all around for another 14 students who achieved at least 4 grades of 7 and above, which would be A/A* grades with the old system.
Mrs Lees, Principal, was extremely proud of everyone involved in the results.
She said:“I am proud of our students and grateful to our staff for the work they have put in to achieve such success in an examination regime which demands such resilience and commitment from the young people.
"They deserve our warmest congratulations for everything they have achieved.”
Norton Knatchbull School's library was filled with lively chatter as students shared their success stories with friends and family.
An incredible showing from 16-year-old Alex Rouet saw him attain nine 9s, an 8 and an A.
He said: "It took hours and hours of work, from Christmas really.
"I wasn't nervous coming in, just a mix of excitement and anxiety to see where the hours had got me in the end."
"I had a good time at the school, the teachers always gave more information and resources if requested."
Charlester Budha also scored high, revelling at his seven 9s, two 8s, a 6 and a B.
He said: "I think I did myself proud, I was really worried, particularly about English and history, but I came out on top - I'm really pleased and relieved.
"I owe a lot to the school and I had a really good time here.
"The teachers were really supportive and the head of year gave us bountiful resources as well as teaching us how to revise properly, which did make a difference.
"I've learnt it's really important to learn your way of revising, maybe as important as the revision itself."
Ashford School celebrated another bumper year for GCSE results.
Top achiever Alfie Hutchinson achieved five 9s and five 8 grades.
Carly Smythe, director of Years 9 to 11, said: “It has been a privilege to support these incredible young people through such a formative period in their lives. They should be immensely proud of all they have achieved, both academically and personally; I wish them great success as they take their next steps”.
Emma Jo will be on kmfm's The Hit List from 7pm tonight for a special GCSE Results Surgery.
To see how pupils in other parts of Kent did, head to our county-wide live blog
More by this authorCharlie Harman