It took years of hard work, revision and a constant flurry of practice exam papers, but it was all worth it.
Tears of joy and sighs of relief filled school halls as pupils across Leeds opened their GCSE results today (Thursday).
More than 7,000 youngsters in Year 11 found out whether they had made the grade amid the biggest shake-up of exams in a generation.
As part of the changes, which this year only affect maths and English subjects, traditional A* to G grades are being gradually replaced in England with a 9 to 1 numbered system.
The number of pupils scoring above a C grade in the reformed subjects has fallen compared to last year, according to national data.
However, schools across Leeds have bucked the trend and, in some cases, have secured record-breaking results.
Coun Lisa Mulherin, Leeds City Council’s executive board member for children and families, said: “Everyone who has taken their GCSEs this year deserves congratulations for their effort and achievements. Exams are a difficult and stressful time but with the help and support of their families and schools, they have done themselves and the city proud.
“I would like to wish all our young people all the very best as they choose their next steps.”
Pupils at The Grammar School at Leeds celebrated achieving the school’s best-ever GCSE results in the top grades today.
More than one quarter of pupils achieved the highest possible grades - an A or 7, the new system equivalent, in every subject.
Five pupils also secured remarkable clean sweeps of two grade 9s and eight A*s each.
As well as record results in the top grades, the school achieved its second-highest results in the last six years with 69 per cent of all grades at A or 7 or above.
Early figures show that just 2,000 students in England scored a clean sweep of top grades under the new system.
Principal Sue Woodroofe said this year’s GCSEs were the toughest since the change from O-Levels.
“I could not be more proud of this year’s GCSE students,” she said.
“These GCSEs are the toughest since the change from O-levels and our results testify to the outstanding achievements of a wonderful group of year 11 students and promise much for their A-Level futures.”
Among the success stories at the school was Georgia Pexton, who combined her studies with making her England debut for the nation’s under 17s netball team.
The young sport star picked up two 8s, seven A*s and an A in her GCSEs and has now been selected for the England under 19s training squad.
Georgia, from Alwoodley, said: “At under 19s level there’s more opportunity to tour and play in competitions so it’s really exciting.”
In South Leeds, pupils at Woodkirk Academy have been congratulated after achieving a high standard in their GCSEs.
Some 80 per cent of youngsters at the Morley school achieved a pass in English, while 76 per cent did so in maths.
Principal Joe Barton said: “Well done to students at Woodkirk receiving their GCSE results.
“At a time of significant changes to English and mathematics, and the uncertainty this has caused nationally, I am delighted for the students that they have done so well.”