Published: 11:25, 12 August 2021
| Updated: 12:12, 13 August 2021
Pupils and staff have been celebrating this morning after learning the results of this year's GCSEs.
As last year, the government did away with exams and asked teachers to assess pupils' progress based on coursework and classroom activity.
For most of the year, pupils also ended up being taught at home during an unsettling and complicated 18 months.
At Fulston Manor School in Brenchley Road, Sittingbourne, head of school Susie Burden was keen to emphasise that the grades achieved by her students had been "well deserved" and that the system was "both fair and rigorous."
She stressed: “It should be understood that these results have been calculated following a process that has included the information held on students and a robust moderation exercise carried out by teachers, heads of department and senior staff and then by the examination boards.
"Students should, therefore, be immensely proud of their achievements.”
Kyle Fagg, 16, and Rohan Verma, 16, said “ We’ve actually enjoyed the past year and found it less stressful. We are both pleased with our results and feel that they reflect our ability well”
But twins Ellie and Beth Stuart, also 16, disagreed. “We found working from home much harder," they said. "But we have had so much support from our teachers we are really happy with our results.”
Ellie added: “Mr Bishop, my history teacher, has been amazing and still made learning fun.”
Beth said: “ I have to thank Mr Hadler, who taught maths, and Mr Rayfield who taught art, as they were very inspirational."
Fulston's spokesman Sarah Palmer said: "Once again, we are immensely proud of the success of our young people and for all they have done to get through an incredibly turbulent year. We wish them all well for the future.”
Among the school's top performers were Madeleine Lewis who picked up seven grade 9s (equivalent to an A in previous years), one grade 8 and one grade 7. Lillian Boden-Thorne had one grade 9, four grade 8s and four grade 7s. Rhys Medwyn had three grade 9s, one grade 8 and five grade 7s and Ellie Scott had two grade 9s, three grade 8s, three grade 7s and two grade 6s.
Lauren Rushworth had four grade 8s, four grade 7s and one grade 6. Zoe Francis had two grade 8s, five grade 7s, and two grade 6s. Keira Hotham had four grade 9s, two grade 8s, one grade 7, one grade 6 and one grade 5. Harry Shave had three grade 8s, four grade 7s and two grade 6s. Jessica Beaney had two grade 9s, one grade 8, three grade 7s, one grade 6 and two grade 5s.
At Westlands School in Westlands Avenue, 300 pupils studied GCSEs and 189 students achieved a 9 to 4 grade in both English and maths.
A total of 71% of students achieved an English grade of 9 to 4, and 73% achieved a maths grade of 9-4.
Among the top performers was Rose Aspinall who was awarded four grade 9s, two grade 8s, two grade 7s and a Distinction*. She discovered her results online. She said: “I am thrilled with my results! I am really looking forward to joining Westlands sixth form next year”
Owen Halse was awarded four 9s, three 7s, a grade 6 and a Distinction. He said: “I’m delighted with my results!”
Alexander Fry achieved four 9s, one 8, two 7s, a grade 6 and a Distinction.
Headteacher Christina Honess said she was pleased the youngsters' hard work had been recognised.
She said: "It goes without saying that this has been a challenging year for our students but the combination of their hard work, staff who go the extra mile and highly supportive families has proved to be very successful.
"I’d like to praise each of our Year 11 students for the enormous amount of resilience they have shown and their excellent attitudes towards the disruption they have faced.
"I’m really pleased that their hard work over the past five years has been recognised and I look forward to welcoming many of our students back to our sixth form very shortly to study a range of Level 3 courses.”
She added: “I would like to personally congratulate our Year 11 students for their excellent results and the positive way in which they have handled the challenges this year has thrown at them. All of the staff at Westlands are incredibly proud of them and their achievements."
Pupils Sophie Hughes, said: “I am really happy with my results and am looking forward to continuing at Westlands sixth form to study mathematics, computing and business studies.”
Joanne Washer added: "Thank you to all my teachers! I am so pleased with my results and look forward to celebrating.”
Students at The Sittingbourne School in Swanstree Avenue had a lot to celebrate after receiving some of the school’s best-ever GCSE results.
Head teacher Nick Smith said: “We couldn’t be happier for our fantastic Year 11s. This year has been a real rollercoaster for them but they did not let that get in the way of achieving the grades they thoroughly deserve.
"At The Sittingbourne School we regularly talk about the importance of resilience, hard work and determination and there has never been a better example of that than with our Year 11s.
"They, along with their teachers, support staff and parents, have given it 100% all year and we are so proud of their wonderful achievements. I know that whatever they have planned next, they will be successful at it.”
Among the stand-out performers was Julia Baykun who achieved eight grade 9 to 4s, including a 9 in maths, a double 8 in science and a grade 8 in English literature.
From September, she will be studying mathematics, chemistry and psychology at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham. She said: “I was really worried but now I have my results, I am really happy with them.”
Isobel Cottage passed eight GCSEs including a double 9 in science, a grade 9 in maths and a distinction* in hospitality and catering.
'I will go out celebrating with my family later'
She said: “I am absolutely delighted and will go out celebrating with my family later.” Isobel is going on to study criminology, finance and applied science at The Sittingbourne School sixth form.
James McLean passed all of his GCSEs and achieved a grade 8 to 9 in combined science, a grade 8 in maths and a distinction in health and social care. He is going on to study psychology, sociology and French A-levels at The Sittingbourne School sixth form.
He said: “I am very happy with what I have achieved, especially with everything we have all gone through this year. I am so happy that I can study my chosen courses in the sixth form.”
Mofi Aladejebi also achieved eight grade 9 to 4s, including a 9 in maths, an 8 in English literature and a 7 in English language. He will study mathematics, physics and economics at Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar School, Faversham.
He said: “I advise younger students to work hard now so that when you take the exams they are easier.”
Borden Grammar School for Boys in Remembrance Avenue reported some "outstanding achievements" despite the impact of the pandemic and singled out seven pupils for special mention.
Harrison Deevoy was the school's highest achiever with 10 GCSEs at grade 9. Beck Mungham, Tommy Fullagar, Ruben Bailey, Alexander Wilson, James Lamey and Tom Green were all given grades at 7 to 9.
Head teacher Ashley Tomlin said: "All of us at Borden are immensely proud of the hard work and resilience our students have exhibited in dealing with unprecedented circumstances and challenges over the last two years.
"We look forward to welcoming a large number of our students back to our sixth form as they progress onto A-level courses. We also wish those going onto apprenticeship courses, college places or other providers the very best of luck as well."
Highsted Grammar School for Girls reported "another year of excellent achievements."
It said: "Students have consistently demonstrated their willingness to overcome a whole host of obstacles that would have been unimaginable in the past. They showed true grit and determination to challenge whatever life threw at them. As a school we are rightly proud."
A spokesman said: "We are absolutely delighted by these results and are full of admiration and pride for the students who thoroughly deserve this considerable level of success.
"The students, with the support of their parents, have worked exceptionally hard to achieve these results, and the efforts of staff cannot be understated.
"We look forward to working with our students in the sixth form as they prepare for the next steps in their educational journey. Everybody is understandably delighted."
The school singled out the following students for achieving "the very top grades across all their subjects."
Caitlin Andrews, Bethany Cozens, Sienna Dennis, Grace Dolman, Jackson Eglinton, Bethany Foster, Rosie Glover.
Elena Ingram, Olivia Maczka, Millie Maskell, Annie McShane, Caitlin Murray, Amber Oxlee, Ruby Pike, Ella Prutton.
Neve Ryan, Holly Savage, Amelia Smith, Brooke Spokes, Ria Thakur, Alecsia Torok, Ilana Wigg, Hannah Wignall and Liberty Wrigglesworth.
For Sheppey GCSE results click here