GCSE pass rate falls for second year in row
Triumph and tribulation came face to face as students across the Westcountry received their GCSE results.
Top A* and A grades were awarded to thousands of youngsters in Devon and Cornwall, with many schools boasting of recording their best ever results.
However, many other pupils were less successful as fewer were awarded at least a C grade this year – in the biggest decline in the exam's 25-year history.
Just over two-thirds (68.1%) of national entries scored A*-C this summer, down 1.3 percentage points from 2012 – the second year running the pass rate has fallen.
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Twins Ella and Phoebe Middleton from Ivybridge Community College both achieved A* grades in their Italian GCSE exams, aged 14.
"I was shaking and could hardly open my results envelope, but it was such a good feeling when we realised that we had both got A stars," said Ella.
"The only pressure was the pressure we put on ourselves," said Phoebe. "We knew we were capable of getting top grades if we put our minds to it, and that's exactly what we did."
The college near Plymouth achieved the best results in its history with 77% gaining A*-C grades.
"These results are remarkable," said college principal Rob Haring, "and they are a true reward for both the hard work of our students and the high-quality teaching at the college."
Exeter School managed to achieve overall pass rate of 100% for the tenth year in a row.
Truro High School achieved its best results ever with all students passing five or more subjects with A*- C grades.
Adrienne Kurdyla, from Falmouth, said: "My results are far better than I expected. Waiting around this morning to get them was horrible but now I couldn't be happier."
Records were also broken at West Buckland School, near Barnstaple, where 60% of all exams passed at A* and A grades, the highest in the school's history.
Headmaster, John Vick said: "This year's exceptional GCSE results are all the more impressive in the context of Ofqual's guidance to exam boards to ensure that results in core subjects are not subject to any 'grade inflation'."
More success was earned at Kingsbridge Community College in South Devon where students collected a total of 245 A* grades – another record.
Principal Roger Pope said: "The Government has expressed its intention to make GCSEs more rigorous and to raise the bar at all the grade boundaries.
"We are delighted that our results have held up strongly against this national background. When students work hard, and combine this with support from their parents and teachers, there is no limit to what they can achieve."
Another successful school was Dartmouth Academy where the number of students achieving A* and A grades more than trebled.
"I've been really nervous about the results," said Isabel Lane. "I didn't sleep last night! I'm really pleased with an A for maths, an A for physics and a distinction for ICT BTEC."
Aaron Cole said: I was worried I wouldn't do well, so I'm really delighted with two As, an A*, four Bs and two Cs. I haven't told my mum yet – she's going to be really excited!"