Burnley pupils from Sir John Thursby triumph in difficult GCSE year

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The headteacher at Sir John Thursby Community College has praised his pupils for creating "fantastic success stories" despite troubles with the new GCSE grading system.

Headteacher Rob Browning said today's results reflect the hard work of pupils and staff who faced a challenging year because of uncertainty over the narrower grade boundaries.

Ethan Murray is one of the school's top achievers. (s)

Ethan Murray is one of the school's top achievers. (s)

Several teenagers were handed top results despite fears pupils could drop a grade due to the new boundaries. The current system offers marks between 1 and 9.

Mr Browning, who only took up the post in January, said: "We're really pleased with the results, especially since it's been a difficult year for staff and pupils. No-one really knew what was going to happen.

"The higher triple science paper, for example, is now graded at 4 to 9 but nationally so many children fell below that and were given 3s instead of a grade U.

"But despite that we've had some fantastic success stories. Staff have worked hard to prepare pupils for the exams and the good results reflect that."

Top achiever Sumaiya Aziz hopes to become an architect and Waheeda Khatun plans to go into medicine.

Top achiever Sumaiya Aziz hopes to become an architect and Waheeda Khatun plans to go into medicine.

Waheeda Khatun, who received five grade 9s and five grade 8s, plans to complete A-Levels in chemistry, biology and maths at Nelson and Colne College before studying medicine at university.

Meanwhile Sumaiya Aziz earned four grade 9s and one A* and dreams of becoming an architect.

Ethan Murray was handed five 9s, an 8 and 2 A*s, Sienna Rattigan was awarded three 9s and three 8s, and Iqra Rani said she is thrilled to have received an A* in Italian. Iqra will now take up an apprenticeship in finance and administration with Burnley-based company, Calico.

Her advice to teenagers sitting their final exams next year is to never lose hope.

Iqra Rani has achieved one of the best results in the year at her school. (s)

Iqra Rani has achieved one of the best results in the year at her school. (s)

She said: "Always be proud of yourself, no matter what grade you get. There will be hard times but stick with it and at the end of it you will get what you deserve."

Staff now feel confident the school's approach to the new system works, according to Mr Browning.

He added: "I'm so proud of the top achievers and I'm excited for them going forward in their future careers."