Joel Webster, 16, a student at Shirebrook Academy, said he admired how staff at the school had worked hard and put in long hours to ensure that this year’s cohort overcame the struggles with lockdowns.
With students working remotely alone at home and sitting tests in the classroom rather than the usual end-of-year exams, it has been a year like not other.
Joel achieved four 9s, three 8s and a 7, which is more than enough for him to take up a place at West Nottinghamshire College in Mansfield to study A Levels.
He said: “I feel amazing to have got the results that I have. I didn’t think I’d be getting 9s and 8s so it’s fantastic.
“The whole environment that we have been studying in, from not knowing when we would be back in school or whether we would be sitting exams made things very uncertain, along with having to socially isolate ourselves.
“It was a unique time and I’m grateful to all the staff for the hard work and the long hours they’ve put in to get us through the exams.
"I’m thinking at the moment that I’d like to be a teacher in the future and what they’ve done this year has certainly inspired me.”
Fellow student Amelie Clarke is also ready to take her next step, armed with a host of GCSE grades including five 9s, which will enable her to take a place in the Sixth Form at Brunts Academy to study A Levels in September.
She said: “I was really worried about my results, but I’m really happy with what I’ve got.
“It has been more worrying this year not knowing what’s going to happen and not being in school for so long and having to work online, so I think we all dealt with it really well.”
Lauren Millband is also heading to Brunts, where she will study finance, maths and sociology at A Level, after picking up seven GCSEs, including three 8s, and a distinction in dance.
She said: “I want to go on to become an accountant, so I’m really pleased with my results because it’s what I need to get into Sixth Form.
“I found it hard to keep focused during home learning so I really picked things up and revised really hard when we got back into school and did the exams.”
Shirebrook Academy principal Mark Cottingham said: “There are so many stories behind these results and this year has seen a huge in demand on our pastoral team as well as form tutors, who have had to balance teaching during the lockdown with ringing up students regularly to check that they are OK.
“When you take that level of stress and anxiety and disruption into account you realise quite how well everybody has done to get the grades that they need.
“Our results are in line with the progress that we would have expected had external exams taken place, so all in all I am very satisfied with this year’s results and proud that everyone’s hard work has been rewarded.”