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The air was full of the sound of laughter and cheers as students from The Blue Coat School opened their GCSE results this morning.

Scilla Yates, Headteacher, said: “It is impossible for us to compare these results with other years. Not just because of how the outcomes were determined, but because of the huge amount of challenges and uncertainty that these students have faced since the start of their GCSE course.

“While we are celebrating so many students securing so many impressive sets of results, I think it is important that we look past the outcomes and think about what every student has had to do to secure the results that they truly deserve. They have had to show tremendous resilience and determination, while facing the pressures that the rest of us have all had to face. A lot has been asked of them, and they have impressed us all with their maturity and understanding.

Among the smiling faces was Chantal Ameh who achieved 10 nines and one eight. Chantal, who will be staying on at the school to study Chemistry, Biology and Spanish, said; “My dream since I was a little girl has always been to go into the medical profession. My Dad and Uncles are doctors, and I just want to help people.”

Alongside her studies, Chantal has been volunteering at Local Solutions, a charity who support carers who have lost the people they have dedicated their time to caring for.

Chantal added: “There are so many teachers I want to thank. What has really mattered most to me is that they have really taken time to think about my wellbeing as much as my academic achievements. It has been really nice to have their support.”

One of the school’s footballing stars, Patrick Grealis, secured ten 9s and one 8. He added: “I was relieved, everything went really well for me. Staying focused at home during lockdown was a challenge. I had so much support from my family, and the online learning that the school put on was great. It required a lot of self-motivation, but I couldn’t have done it without those around me.”

Prashanti Guruprasad achieved nine 9s and two 8s, and is now hoping that her A-levels will open the door to her studying Architecture at the University of Cambridge. She said: “I put in so much hard work into securing these grades. The teachers really challenged us to show what we could achieve. They have been incredible.”

Hannah Silcock, who found out she had secured five 9s and six 8s, said: “While there wasn’t one big final exam, I don’t think people realise that these were replaced with lots of smaller exams so that teachers could accurately show what we were capable of. I actually think this made things much more challenging, and the support of our friendship groups has been vital.”

Ms Yates added: “Given the circumstances, there was a huge amount of relief as students opened their results today.

“That sense of relief, however, quickly turned to pride. These students have been so impressive. They have achieved as individuals, but what I take the most pride in is that they have worked together as a group to support one another. They have shown real kindness and compassion – and for that alone they deserve every accolade that we can bestow upon them.

“They are an extraordinary group of young people, who have been through an extraordinary experience.

“I would also like to thank and acknowledge my colleagues. All of the staff, from the teachers through to our brilliant cleaners, have played a role in helping today be one that will live in the memory. It has been a collective effort where everyone has done more than has been asked of them. While today is rightly about our students, every member of the community should look at the smiles we are seeing and take a huge amount of satisfaction from that.”

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