THE resilience and hard work of GCSE students was praised by Kenwyn Paddy, acting principal at Copley Academy, Stalybridge.
Students had to come to terms with their courses being disrupted by Covid-19 with final exams unable to be sat.
It came as a further challenge for Copley which was placed in special measures in June 2019 with Mr Paddy appointed as interim principal.
But in the last 12 months Mr Paddy has overseen a marked improvement in standards.
He explained: “I want to concentrate on the positives. The school has had two fantastic Ofsted reports this year and we knew there would be an improvement in results.
“The year 11 cohort has been a fantastic group which has got its rewards for hard work.
“The results they have achieved will open the door for future education at sixth form colleges.
“And from a first look at the results, I would say we probably have a record number of high achievers.
“The students have shown great resilience in adversity in what has been a challenging year and hopefully they have great futures ahead of them.”
Results days were like no other previous ones with students arriving at pre-arranged five-minute intervals.
Students were only allowed into the building with parents and guardians forced to wait in the car park.
Some students opened their envelopes as soon as they received them while others dashed outside to share the moment with family.
Keegan Plant, from Copley, was one of the high achievers receiving two grade nines which are the equivalent to A**, two eights which equates to A* in the old system, three sevens which were A and two sixes which were B.
A delighted Keegan said: “After seeing the A Level results, I thought I would be downgraded.
“I was in shock when I opened the envelope and really proud of what I have done. I am still trying to process it as I didn’t expect to do so well.”
Keegan was especially pleased with the result of her maths.
She explained: “We had no teacher in year 10 and had to teach ourselves.
“I went from grade three up to seven in one year which was a shock and again something I am proud of.”
Keegan is going to study A Levels in psychology, criminology and applied science at Ashton Sixth Form College and would like to work in police forensic.
Laura Nicholson, who received one standout grade nine in her results, was “very, very pleased” with her results.
She said: “There was confusion over the results which made everyone very anxious. I have mixed feelings and am glad it’s over.
“One minute I thought I would do terrible and emotions went up and down.”
Laura is to study art and design at Clarendon Sixth Form College.
Gemma Doxey, from Stalybridge, described waiting for her results as “the most stressful day of my life”.
She said: “We all thought we would be downgraded after what happened with A Levels, but I think the results have been fair. I am happy how I have done.
“It has been really stressful, but I am excited. It is the close of this chapter and the opening of another.”
Gemma is studying criminology, sociology and law at Ashton Sixth Form College.
Isabelle Moore, who received one eight, four sevens, two sixes and one five, also described it as “very stressful” waiting for her results.
Isabelle, who is from Ashton, is to study for A Levels in psychology, sociology and health and social at Ashton Sixth Form College.
Katie Hilton, from Stalybridge, was delighted with one nine, three eights, three sevens and one five.
She described it as a “massive relief” again reiterating how stressful it had been.
Katie, who wants to become a paramedic, is studying for A Levels in psychology, sociology and health and social at Ashton Sixth Form College.
Anna Harding, who got grades six and seven across the board, was philosophical about the disrupted year.
“Yes, it has been pretty stressful, but I have remained calm as I couldn’t do anything about what has been happening,” she said.
Anna, from Ashton, is to study for A Levels in accountancy, geography and sociology at Ashton Sixth Form College.
James Nadin, from Millbrook, received a celebratory hug from mother Nicola in the car park.
James, who had a mixture of grades six and five, admitted to being “quite chilled and not nervous” on results day.
Nicola said: “We have been very concerned about what has happened with the results.
“We believe teachers are best equipped to give grades as they know the students better than anybody. We are pleased it was reverted back to that system.”
Dad Alan added: “Copley have been fantastic over the whole of James’ schooling life, especially the last two years.
“From a parent’s perspective, a massive thank you to Mr Paddy and his team for helping the students in very strange times.”
James is to study A Levels in geography, physics and maths at Ashton Sixth Form College.
Dylan Ryan, from Copley, was “more than pleased” with his six grade fives and two grade fours.
That secured a place at Ashton Sixth Form College to do business vocational and geography A Level.
Simeon Barrow admitted his results could have been better as he prepares to go to Tameside College to study media, hair and make-up.
Stalybridge’s Caine Pounder, who is to study art at Ashton Sixth Form College, admitted the stress was such everyone in his household could not sleep the night before results day.
Lauren Mullholland, from Stalybridge, was pleased with grade fours across the board as she will study travel and tourism at Tameside College.