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Top grades down in GCSEs

Top grades are down - and many students have missed out on vital levels of achievements in key subjects as the demand for higher standards from GCSEs begins to bite. Tens of thousands of pupils across the region have been opening their results today.

Many have performed well despite the fact the bar has been raised with several harder exams, particularly in science. But for many subjects better scores have been needed just to get the same grades as last year. Our social affairs correspondent Christine Alsford reports.

Cornwallis Academy record breaking year

Students from Cornwallis Academy collecting their exam results Credit: Cornwallis academy

Students from Cornwallis Academy in Maidstone collected their GCSE results this morning.

Cornwallis are celebrating another year of record breaking results with 58 per cent of students gaining 5 A*-C including English and Maths.

Ben Turner and Ben Austen receiving their exam grades Credit: Cornwallis academy

Academy Principal, David Simons, said: "We are delighted for all of the students who have worked so hard and their families who have been so supportive and we look forward to welcoming the students back into the Sixth Form in September."

Phoebe Worden (centre) with her English teacher (left) and proud mum Credit: Cornwallis academy

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Exam success for Churchill's relative

Isabella Soames has gained one of the best results in her school year Credit: PA Wire

The great-granddaughter of Sir Winston Churchill, from East Sussex, has received one of the best results in her school year.

Isabella Soames, who is 16-years-old, was also scouted by leading modelling agency Storm, who also work with Kate Moss and Lily Cole.

The teenager, who is the daughter of Conservative Mid Sussex MP Nicholas Soames, gained 11 A*s at independent Brighton College.

Isabella celebrating with her friends after getting great GCSE results Credit: PA Wire

The school's headteacher, Richard Cairns, said: "I think it is a proud moment for the city that a Brighton school can outperform much more selective schools in London and elsewhere in the South East."

"I really do believe that if you have a kind, considerate and supportive environment, children will achieve more than you might expect. Happy children are, by and large, successful children."

Pupils receive GCSE results

Tens of thousands of pupils in the South and South East are receiving their GCSE results this morning amid fears that we'll see a drop in performance.

The regulator Ofqual has already warned schools and colleges that tougher new exams in science will mean students have to reach a higher standard to be awarded the same grades as in previous years.

There are more demanding qualifications in Physics, Chemistry, Biology, Additional Science and Applied Additional Science.

It's part of government plans to raise standards and crack down on rising pass rates and high numbers of top grades. GCSE qualifications are set to be changed in the future to be based on final exams only with only limited opportunities for resits.

A particularly close watch is being kept on today's results on the Isle of Wight and in Medway - these local authorities were recently put under scrutiny by the school inspection body Ofsted for their poor performance.

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