PUPILS in Croydon will discover how they did in their GCSEs this morning, with early stories of individual success but mixed results for the borough's schools.
There is mixed news for the Harris Federation, with results falling significantly at South Norwood and Crystal Palace but improvements at Upper Norwood and Purley. A number of schools have yet to publish their results.
At Harris Academy South Norwood, the number of pupils achieving at least five A* to C Grades including English and maths - the government's minimum standard - fell by 12 points, from 78 per cent to 64 per cent. At Harris Academy Crystal Palace results were six per cent worse than in 2013.
Schools had been braced for "volatile" results following changes to the exam system, with a greater emphasis on final exams rather than modular units and coursework.
Woodcote High, in Purley, said it had "weathered" the storm despite posting overall results five per cent lower than last year.
Head teacher Mark Southworth said vulnerable pupils had suffered as a result of the exam changes.
He explained: "While our results represent a real achievement for the vast majority of students, the changes in entry policy instigated by the government have meant that a number of our most vulnerable students have suffered from not being able to take their exams in smaller units and thus build up their confidence over the whole GCSE course."
A number of schools have shown improvements, including Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College, Archbishop Tenison's and Oasis Academy Shirley Park.
Archbishop Lanfranc School, in Mitcham Road, was the first to post its scores, with the proportion of students achieving at least five A* to C grades including English and maths increasing eight per cent to 47 per cent.
Head teacher David Clark, who is leaving ahead of the school becoming an academy in September, said: "We had hoped to exceed 50 per cent so are therefore pleased with the improvement but also somewhat disappointed."
The school, which will now be run by the Coloma Trust, saw particular progress in English, where the proportion of A* to C grades went from before to 50 per cent to above 60 per cent. Pupils also achieved highly in physics, chemistry and sociology.
Lanfranc's success stories included Camille Leroyer (5 A* and 4 As) Gowthamy Nimalan (5 A* and 4As), Kusha Oza (6 A* and 2 As) and Puja Patel (6A* and 4 As).
There was better news for the Harris Federation at its Upper Norwood school - formerly Westwood Girls' College - which posted its first results since being converted into an academy last September.
The school had the lowest grades in the borough two years ago, with 35 per cent of pupils reaching the expected standard. This year 55 per cent achieved at least five 'good' GCSEs, up from 41 per cent in 2013.
Principal Sam Rainey said: "In our first year as an academy, we have gone from strength to strength.
"Year 11 have achieved very well and will be great role models for younger year groups to aspire to and look up to."
Harris Academy Purley, in South Croydon, secured its best ever GCSE results, with four in five students (79 per cent) reaching the expected standard.
It was also among the schools to post improved English Baccalaureate (EBacc) scores, a new performance measure showing the proportion of students who get good grades in maths, English, history or geography, the sciences and a language. Some 19 per cent hit that target, compared to 6 per cent last summer.
Executive principal Carol-Anne Alcock said: "This is a landmark year for us: not only do we have the first year group to have had their whole secondary education at the Academy, but we also have achieved our best ever results."
Oasis Academy Shirley Park, in Addiscombe, is among the schools to see improved results, with 69 per cent of pupils reaching the required level, five per cent more than last year.
Results at Norbury Manor Business and Enterprise College, in Thornton Heath, also improved. Some 67 per cent of its students will leave with at least five A* to C grades, a two per cent increase.
Head teacher Amanda Compton said: "In spite of warnings that schools could expect a downturn in their results today, our students have bucked the trend."
The school was particularly proud of Mirali Patel who got 11 A*; Thulakshi Kumararatnam, who achieved 10 A*; Visha Arfan, who got 10 A*; and Chloe Lam, who leaves with 5 A* and 6 A grades.
Archbishop Tenison's School is also among those celebrating exam success.
The school's overall results went up by four per cent and 38 per cent of pupils achieved the EBacc, its highest ever score.
Among its high achieving pupils were James Haslam (8 A* and 3 A), Thomas Smith (6 A*, 2 A), Sarah-Jane Garner (5 A*, 4 A) and Hannah Fisher (4 A*, 6 A).
Head Richard Parrish said: "This a very encouraging set of results for a year group who have worked very hard and contributed well to the school in our 300th year. The consistency of results is impressive."
There was a degree of disappointment at Quest Academy, in Selsdon, were the number of pupils reaching the government's benchmark fell from 62 per cent to 52 per cent.
However, the school achieved a 100 per cent A* to C rate in economics, health and social care and four separate languages.
A number of pupils did particularly well, including Larry Hammer, who exceeded expectations with four A*s and 9 As.
Larry said: "I am to Quest from Germany and didn't even know how to speak English.
"We came here because my parents think that universities here are better. I'm going to stay on at Quest for A-levels and I'm hoping to get good enough results to go to Cambridge or another university."
Nadiya Mohamud also did very well, achieving 3 A*s and 7 As.
"I can't believe it," she said. "I'm really happy with my French result. After the exam I thought I would get a C or D, then I opened it and saw I got an A*!"
Students at Croydon's independent schools also picked up their results today, with Trinity School welcoming news that 99.6 per cent of all grades were between A* to Cs, with only five of its pupil's 1,381 papers graded less than a C.
The school said 57 students had got five or more A*s, including Janarth Duraisingham who took home 10 A*s.
He said: "It hasn't quite sunk in yet but I am overjoyed."
Old Palace School of John Whitgift celebrated a 100 per cent pass rate. Fifteen students achieved 10 A* or A grades.
While Harris South Norwood's overall results fell significantly, some of its pupils excelled themselves such as Alex Poovathoor, who achieved 10 A*s. The school also posted improved EBacc scores.
Oasis Academy Coulsdon said it was unable to confirm its overall results at this time. "We are still waiting for some results to be confirmed and will publish our final figures as soon as we can," said principal Andy Booth.
The school was able to highlight some individual examples of success, including Kirsty Bailey from Coulsdon who got 9 A*s in maths, science, English literature, French, geography, religious education and humanities, as well as an a in English.
Daniel Benham, 16, from South Croydon, was the academy's top achieving boy and was thrilled with his five A*s in maths, biology chemistry, physics and geography.
Although its overall results fell, Woodcote High School, in Purley, said it had "weathered the turbulence and volatility" of the changes to the exam system.
The school saw 77 per cent of its pupils achieve at least five A* to C grades including English and maths, down five per cent from 2013.
Student Charlie Francombe achieved the maximum point score at GCSE, with nine A*s and three A grades.
Results so far (% of pupils with least five A* to C grades including English and maths)
|Harris Academy Purley
|Harris Crystal Palace
|Archbishop Tenison's CE High
|Oasis Academy Shirley Park
|Harris Academy S. Norwood
|The Quest Academy
|Harris Academy U. Norwood
*Oasis Academy Coulsdon unable to confirm overall results