Thu, 23 Aug 2018
THOUSANDS of students across West Berkshire and North Hampshire will today open those all-important envelopes to find out how they got on in their GCSE exams.
Our team of reporters and photographers are out and about at schools to bring you all the results, reaction and pictures as it happens.
A quick reminder - this year, GCSEs in England have been reformed in a bid to make exams tougher.
Instead of the traditional A*-G, students will not be graded on a scale from 9 to 1 for a number of subjects.
Grades 9, 8 and 7 are broadly equivalent to an A* and an A.
Grades 6, 5 and 4 are in line with B and C grades.
A grade 4 is broadly equivalent to a C grade.
Follow our live blog below and remember to keep refreshing the page!
1.30pm: Thanks for joining us. We hope you enjoyed today's live GCSE blog. Congratulations from all of us at the Newbury Weekly News and NewburyToday.
There have been some fantastic results, but try not to get downbeat if you haven't got the grades you expected. There are still so many options available to you.
We will have a massive NINE pages of GCSE coverage in next week's Newbury Weekly News. Don't forget to pick up a copy!
1pm: Some national news here from the BBC:
GCSE results in England, Wales and Northern Ireland have risen this year - despite an overhaul to make them more demanding.
The proportion reaching the pass levels - the new grade 4 in England and grade C in Wales and Northern Ireland - is up by 0.5% to 66.9%.
For the first time most of the GCSEs in England are being graded from 9 to 1.
About 4% of entries received the top grade 9 - and 732 pupils scored a clean sweep of grade 9s in all subjects.
Girls continued to do better than boys - in terms of both the highest grades and in the pass rate. But the gender gap has narrowed this year with boys catching up.
In total, 17.2% of boys' entries scored an A or a 7, up from 16.4% last year, while girls' remained static at 23.7%.
12.45pm: Here are St Gabriel's pupils Jess Hake, from Newbury and Lucy Melling, from Kingsclere. Both girls said they were "shocked" to get a number of 9's and 8's.
12.30pm: These pupils at The Willink School have completely aced it, too.
From left to right, we've got Harrison Gorst, Jack Chapman and Abbie Hancock who all achieved higher-end grades.
On the new GCSE number grading system, Harrison, was pretty matter-of-fact.
"I think we have to stop moaning about it, you just have to get on with it," he said.
“It’s a blanket coverage across the country, in five years we’ll look back and wonder what all the fuss was about."
Jack Chapman also impressed with 7 grade 9s and 3 grade 8s.
“I feel brilliant. I wasn’t expecting it to be honest,” said Jack.
Abbie also bagged three grade 9s.
12.20pm: Theale Green pupil Francesca Earley can't hide her joy. She's absolutely thrilled with her 8 in English Literature - when she was only predicted a 6. Nice one, Francesca!
11.50am: There are a lot of happy faces over at the Clere School in Burghclere. Look at them. From left to right is Arthur Hobby, Joseph Whiteman, Matt Partridge, Rebecca Hedger and Leila Rawlings with their results held aloft.
11.40am: There will be people reading this blog who perhaps didn't get the grades they were expecting or hoping for. That doesn't mean that there aren't options open to you. There's some great advice from Dr Nick Smith, courses director and founder of the Oxford Open Learning Trust.
He said: “Receiving GCSE results is a huge moment in a child’s education and for thousands all over the country, it will be the springboard to a variety of exciting careers. It’s fantastic to see so many students with smiling faces - today is a day for all students to be proud of their hard work.
“Not everyone, however, will quite get the results they hoped for, but we’re here to reassure them that they needn’t worry! For those who don’t get the GCSE results they expected, there are a number of options available.
“To begin with, students should get in touch with the course representative at the sixth form or college they applied for. They might say it’s possible to let them on the course anyway, or perhaps find an alternative subject.
“Alternatively, it might be worth considering less traditional pathways, such as apprenticeships, work experience or a gap year. Such options do not mean that students have to simply leave education behind, as they can still resit GCSEs while working.
“Distance learning is the most flexible way of doing this as your course materials are available online and you can learn in your own time, all while working and gaining vital experience.”
11.25am: A bit more info coming in from The Downs School in Compton, where 13 per cent of all entries were at least 9/8 and 27 per cent were at 9-7.
11.20am: Our Hampshire reporter Charlotte Booth has been at The Hurst Community College in Baughurst this morning, speaking to pupils as they open those all important envelopes.
In total, 79 per cent of them achieved a grade 4 or higher in the core area of mathematics, science and English.
11.15am: Over to John O'Gaunt School in Hungerford. Our Hungerford and Lambourn reporter, John Garvey, has been getting some reaction from pupils there.
Hannah Glover achieved an amazing eight 9s and one 8.
Headteacher Alan Henderson said: "were incredibly proud of her. It's an extraordinary achievement and testament to her hard work and that of the staff.
"Overall were absolutely thrilled with the results, which have exceeded expectations - put third year of really strong results."
Well done Hannah.
11.10am: Right, on to the next one. They are coming in thick and fast now. At Theale Green, 60 per cent achieved at least a 4 or better in both English and mathematics.
Positive results @TrinityNewbury where 24% of grades were 6-9 60% of pupils achieved a grade 4-9 in maths and 66% achieved a grade 4-9 in English.— John Herring (@johnh_nwn) August 23, 2018
10:54am: There were positive results at Trinity School where 24 per cent of grades were 6-9, 60 per cent of pupils achieved a grade 4-9 in maths and 66 per cent achieved a grade 4-9 in English.
One of the school’s highest achievers, Ellie Drake opened three 8s, two Bs and two 5s.
She said that she was really surprised with her results and that her parents were happy with her grades.
Other top performers were Alex McQuillan with six 9s and three 8s; Jemima Robinson (four 9s, three 8s, A*, 7); Amy Hutchins (two 9s, three 8s, two 7s, 6, 5); Flin Barbour (two 8s, A*, two 7s, A, two 5s).
Headteacher Charlotte Wilson said: This year group have worked really hard. They have coped with these changes really well and got some excellent results."
On the grade changes she said: "I think the students just got on with it. They accepted that some would have numerical grades and some would have letter grades but they all knew what the grades mean and what they need.
"We supported them to get these grades and because they have been working towards it for the last two years they were prepared and ready."
10.48am: Over at St Barts in Newbury, Josh Douglas was ‘really pleased’ with his results after hard work.
Josh, who will be studying A-Levels at St Barts achieved eight qualifications between 9 and 7.
He received four 9s in History, English Language, English Literature and PE; 8s in Religious Studies and 7s in German and Mathematics.
He said: “After a number of sleepless nights, I am really happy with the results I have achieved.”
Josh will be studying English Literature, Politics, History and Sociology at St Barts next month.
10.45am: Pangbourne College is celebrating a superb set of GCSE results today, as its pupils produced a 93 per cent pass rate, with 41 per cent of grades at 9 - 7 under the new specification (equivalent to A* - A).
10:36am: Top performer at Kennet School Mehrin Abedin opened 13 GCSEs including 8 grade 9’s (A*+). She said: “I’m so shocked. When I was opening them I was like what, when’s it going to end.”
Despite getting top grades she said the exams were “so stressful, I wasn’t predicting my grades to be like this at all. I was just thinking I would be really happy with 8s."
They're celebrating here @KennetSchool #Thatcham 73% of pupils earned a 4+ (what used to be a C grade) in English and maths. National average for 9s (A*+) is 2%. Kennets is 4%. Great stuff @NewburyToday— John Herring (@johnh_nwn) August 23, 2018
Miss Abedin will be staying on at Kennet to study maths, further maths, chemistry and either physics or biology.
Other star pupils were Rachael Darroch 10 GCSEs including 3 9s; Sophie Hallam 12 (four 9s); Olivia Hope 12 (six 9s); Isabelle Jarratt 12 (6 9s); Katie Palmer 12 (two 9s); Prachi Patel 13 (five 9s); Erin Riches 12 (eight 9s); Harry Sansum 10) five 9s); Fern Speakman 11 (five 9s); William Thorne 12 (three 9s); and Jack Vanstone 11 (6 grade 9s).
Headteacher Gemma Piper said: “In a year of lots of uncertainty we are incredibly proud of all our pupils or all abilities.
“I think knowing that the majority of these pupils will be in our 6th form means high hopes for them in two years for sure."
On the grade changes she said: "In all honesty as long as you understand the implication for your pupils and you apply a bit of sense along the way... there's no reason why pupils can't achieve as they have done here today."
10.25am: Reuben Langdon, a student from Park House School in Newbury is thrilled with his results.
Reuben achieved a 9 in Geography; 8s in Maths, Drama, Biology, Chemistry and PE and 7s in Art & Design, Physics, French, English Literature and English Language.
He will be joining the Rugby Mad Dog Academy when the term begins in September.
10.20am: Nina Harrison is one of The Willink School's top performing pupils.
She got seven 9s and three 8s.
“I’m feeling absolutely brilliant," she told reporter Fiona Tomas. "I have a twin brother at Reading Boys who is getting his results today too.
“It’s a bit of a competition between us.”
Ahh, nothing like a bit of sibling rivalry to spice up GCSE results day..
10.05am: Here's Stuart Bladon from The Downs School in Compton. He looks chuffed - and rightly so!
Stuart achieved 9s in chemistry and physics; 8s in history, maths, biology, English literature an PE; a 7 seven in English language and a 6 in Spanish. His ambition is to become an aeronautical engineer.
9.55am: The results are also in at The Willink School in Burghfield Common, where 28 per cent of grades were at 9 - 7 (A* to A). 81 per cent of students got grades 9 - 4 (A* to C in English and mathermatics). Well done everyone!
9.45am: The results are in at St Bartholomew's School in Newbury. In total, 40 per cent of all grades were at 7 or better (the equivalent of the old A grade).
9.40am: Can tell you now that 68 per cent of students at Park House achieved five or more standard passes.
9.35am: Still awaiting the official results from Park House School, but they are smiling - which is usually a good sign..
9.30am: The results are a bit slow coming in this morning. Must have something to do with the weather.
9.25am: If you're still trying to get your head around the new numerical scoring system for the GCSE results, there's an explanation above which should help.
A 9 is the new A*+, an 8 is an A*, a 7 is an A, 6,5 & 4 is in line with B and C grades.
Got it? Good.
9.20am: We'd love to hear how you got on in your exams. Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us know!
9.15am: The excitement around this new GCSE number system has got too much for our reporter Fiona Tomas.
She’s turned up to The Willink School in Burghfield Common an hour earlier than the pupils.
Never mind a 9, I’ll give her 10 out of 10 for effort.
9.10am: The results are in at Thatcham's Kennet School, where 73 per cent of pupils earned a 4+ (what used to be a C grade) in English and maths. National average for 9s (A*+) is two per cent. Kennet's is double that, at four per cent.
9.00am: You know that Travis song Why Does It Always Rain On Me? Well, that sort of how I'm feeling today. It was hammering it down for the A-levels last week and now it's chucking it down for the GCSE results.
Still, can't complain, had a cracking sausage sandwich and a cup of coffee at St Gabriel's. That should set me up for the day.
8.50am: Just left St Gabriel's School in Newbury and following on from last week's impressive A-level results, it's another good set of grades for the GCSEs.
In total, 33 per cent of grades were at A*/9 or 8 and 57 per cent at A*/9 to A/7.
Nice one girls!
8.45am: Good morning everyone and welcome to our live GCSE blog.
We've got six reporters and two photographers at 12 schools and colleges this morning.