THERE were tears of joy and some of sadness as students in Andover and surrounding towns collected their much-awaited GCSE results last Thursday.

This was the first year the government introduced the new, tougher exam grading system for maths and English, grading results 9-1.

The marking systems are not directly comparable but the bottom of grade 7 is roughly a grade A, a 4 equates to a C and a 1 is akin to a G.

However, grading in other subjects was unchanged.

It is this new marking standard which has meant like-for-like comparisons to last year’s results are almost impossible.

GCSEs are also being taught differently as exams boards stop dividing courses up into modules and put all of the exams at the end of a two-year programme instead of spreading assessments out.

However, despite this schools achieved high pass rates, with some schools recording their best set of results in recent years.

Across the whole country, GCSE passes dropped slightly across the range of subjects, with some dramatic changes in new, tougher exams sat for the first time in England.

Overall in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, passes (grades C/4 and above) dropped 0.6 percentage points to 66.3 per cent.

In England, the English literature pass-rate fell 2.2 percentage points to 72.4 per cent.

In maths it dropped from 71.4 to 70.7 per cent.

Both are new, tougher exams according to many examining boards.

Students across Andover and the surrounding rose to the challenge of the exams however, with many flourishing.

In fact a Weyhill Road school has said its former students will leave as “confident, resilient and principled young adults”.

Rookwood School announced 91 per cent of its pupils gained five or more A* to C or 9 to 4 grades with half the grades being B or above.

The school is also celebrating four of its students, Gareth Brooker, Aimee Antonius, Jacob Culley-Wilson and Joshua Wilson, who each gained nine or more A*/A or 9 to 7 grades.

Gareth said: “I felt a great sense of relief opening my results to see that my hard work has paid off. Thank you to all of my teachers for their support.”

Aimee added: “I am very pleased with my results today and I cannot wait to start at Peter Symonds [College] in September where I will be studying biology, sport and psychology.”

Headteacher, Mark Whalley, said: ‘I am really proud of all of our Year 11 pupils. They have all worked incredibly hard and truly deserve their great results.

“I am particularly pleased with how well our students have managed the GCSE courses and exams in mathematics, English Language and English Literature.

“Their achievements have been underpinned by the hard work and dedication of our staff.

“Finally, I would like to wish our students every success as they move forward to new challenges.

“They leave Rookwood as confident, resilient and principled young adults and I have no doubt they will continue to flourish.”

Meanwhile a Stockbridge school is ‘delighted’ with the GCSE results its students achieved this year.

Test Valley School has congratulated its pupils for the results they achieved with 65 per cent securing five or more grades equivalent to A* to C, including English and maths.

Under the new system, 75 per cent of pupils achieved at least a grade 4 or above in English and in mathematics.

Headteacher, Louisa Hiscock, said: “We are delighted with the results achieved by our pupils, especially with the anticipated volatility of these results.

“I congratulate and wish them all well as they go forward to the next stage in their lives.

“I pay credit to the staff for their commitment and determination to support our pupils and also take this opportunity to thank parents for their support.”

See tomorrow's newspaper for full GCSE coverage!