Teenagers overcome exams and 'unique challenge' of pandemic disruption to receive GCSEs

  • Watch Max Walsh's report.

Thousands of teenagers have collected their GCSE results after sitting exams for the first time in three years due to the pandemic.

Across the South West, the number of top grades were down compared to last year's teacher assessments, but they were an improvement on 2019 when exams were last held.

At John Cabot Academy in Bristol, students collected their results this morning (25 August), and some of them broke the record for the school, as it received its best ever set of GCSE exam results.

Principal Kate Willis said they have all overcome 'an utterly unique challenge.'

Mrs Willis told ITV News: "I am exceptionally proud of the students. Their resilience over the last two years in and out of school - are they going to have exams? Are they not? All of those changes and the commitment they've shown to doing their very best. I am overwhelmed. It's an utterly unique challenge they've faced."

Student Jun Hao received 9s, the top mark, in all eleven GCSEs he sat. He says it will help pave the way for his dream to become a doctor.

He said: "I'm very much a pessimist so I was panicking about it all summer so it's great to have this relief and all my hard work has paid off."

Ismail Yassir also gained some of the highest grades of his year. He says he still has not decided whether to go into IT or medicine.

He said: "I feel very proud. Proud of my accomplishment and of all the hard work."

Staff at John Cabot Academy say they have seen a significant improvement in grades compared to 2019, with 83% of students passing Maths and English.