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.