Pupils at one Fylde coast school celebrated an excellent set of exam results – but one student faced a more challenging year than most.
Liam Clarke, 15, of Sandhills Avenue in South Shore, overcame the death of his dad, David Clarke, 40 and grandma, Joan Clarke, 83, to pass exams in English and maths as well as a vocational course in training to be a car mechanic.
Liam, the first to arrive at the school in Highfield Road yesterday to pick up his results, said he was proud he had stuck at his GCSE exams and is looking forward to attending Blackpool and The Fylde College in September.
He said: “It was just a normal day last January before we went back to school for mock GCSE exams. My dad had been ill for a few days and was rushed into hospital with pneumonia.
“He was in intensive care but died a few days later.
“Then this year, in February, my grandma died. She was someone I got on well with and really looked up to.
“It has been a very hard year but I have not given up.
“I tried to do the best in my exams and I am quite proud I did my hardest.”
Other students who faced their own challenges included Connor Riddlesden, 16, of Boscombe Road, South Shore.
Connor passed nine exams, including six A and three A* grades, despite fracturing his elbow just two weeks before his GCSE exams were due to start.
He said: “I was on a school trip playing football in Belgium and fell over hurting my arm.
“It was never going to be right before the exams, so I had to sit in a separate room and dictate my answers to someone who wrote them down for me.
“I am really, really pleased with how I have done and am looking forward to going to Blackpool Sixth Form College to study maths, further maths, modern history and classic civilisations.”
Ian Evans, headteacher said he was pleased exams had remained consistent, despite what he called “turbulence in the exam system”.
He added: “We are delighted to see our pupils celebrating their achievements. This is another year where staff have worked tirelessly with our pupils to ensure they achieved the best they could.
“Given the changes that have led to turbulence in the examination system we have held our results at around the same standards as last year.
“We are delighted to see our pupils taking the next steps in their journey.
“We aim to prepare all of our pupils for their challenges after Highfield.
“Helping them to achieve good examination results is an essential part of our role, but there is much more. Young people need to be resilient, confident, and determined, as well as good problem solvers, team players and leaders. We have given our pupils many opportunities to develop these skills and attributes.
“The overall results are due to immense effort that has gone in by pupils and teachers during their time with us but particularly in the least two years.
“I am thankful to the wonderful support given to our pupils and teachers by parents, governors, the authority and partners of Highfield.”