SCHOOLS across Thurrock are bucking the trend as fantastic results came in from across the borough.
Before results were announced there had been predictions from experts that fewer pupils would score high grades in key subjects including Maths and Science.
Of the ten secondary schools in Thurrock six saw results improve and there has been a large rise in English Baccalaureate success rates - where young people can go on to A-level and vocational study.
Several students have achieved spectacular numbers of passes, including one Gable Hall student who obtained 14 A* or A pass at GCSE, plus an A/S level.
John Kent, Thurrock Council leader and portfolio holder for education, said: “One result I found particularly pleasing is one of one of our looked after children - a student at Ormiston Park – who secured a clutch of A* to C passes, including an A in maths, an A* in art and design and a distinction in IT.”
“It seems changes at the national level have blurred the overall picture again this year, but I’m pleased that most of our schools and academies have done as well as expected.
“The efforts of the students themselves, their families and their teachers deserves to be recognised – whatever the final outcome and this year too there is something new to help students who want to continue learning locally, but who perhaps found their results were not quite what had been hoped for."
Harris Academy Chafford Hundred achieved its best ever results. 93 per cent of students have achieved at least 5 GCSEs including Maths and English and every student sitting GCSE English obtained an A* to C pass.
Pupils laughed and cheered with delight as they opened their envelopes to see how they had fared - with many going on to study at the academy's sixth form.
Moyo George, 16, of Brooke Road, Grays got three A*, four A, two B and one C grade in his GCSEs.
He said: "I am really pleased with how it has played out. I worked hard to get the grades I did and I am looking forward to studying Maths, Further Maths, Chemistry and Physics at the sixth form."
Matthew Davies, 16, of Maunder Close, Chafford Hundred achieved eight A*, three A and one B grade.
He said: " I did well and want to carry what I have learnt over into a future in research. I will go to Lakeside later to celebrate."
Meanwhile, Ormiston Park Academy, in Aveley, saw results soar in comparison to 12 months ago. Over 40 per cent achieved five A*-C including Maths and English - up six per cent from 2012.
Headteacher Tess Walker said: "We are very happy with the results and are looking to improve year upon year. Next year, after we have moved into our new building, we are aiming for 55 per cent and that is entirely achievable."
Gable Hall School, in Corringham, was another school which achieved a higher set of results that last year.
73 per cent of students achieved five or more A*-C passes including English and Maths, up from 71 per cent in 2012. 39 per cent achieved the coveted Ebacc measure of 6 or more GCSE passes which prepares students for University, which was up from 28 per cent in 2012.
Hassenbrook Acedemy celebrated its 60th Anniversary with another great set of results, with 62 per cent of pupils achieving five or more A* to C grades including English and Maths.
Notable successes once again are results in Mathematics and Science, where 79 per cent and 84 per cent of pupils achieved a grade C or above respectively.
St Clere's School, in Stanford-le-Hope, was another success story with 75 per cent of students achieving A*- C in English and Maths, and 86 per cent of students getting five GCSE’s A* – C.
The Gateway Academy was celebrating another successful year with 92 per cent of its pupils getting five or more A*-C grades. 50 per cent of students achieved five or more A*-C GCSE passes including English and Maths.
Pupils at the Grays Convent High School celebrated success in science and technologies.
For the first time students sat three separate GCSEs in biology, chemistry and physics with over 90 per cent achieving A*-C in each subject and over a third of entries getting A or A*.
There were also top results for ICT, and 95 per cent of entries gained A*-C with 43 per cent achieving top grades. Other technologies did very well with 88 per cent of pupils entered for textiles gaining A*-C & 100 per cent in graphic products and food technology.
Students and staff at The Ockendon Academy saw 100 per cent of pupils get five A*-C GCSEs - the third consecutive year this has been accomplished. 51 per cent got five A*-C including Maths and English.
Hathaway Academy, formerly Grays School, scored 39 per cent five A*-C including Maths and English and 71 per cent five A*-C.
Dr Sophina Asong, Headteacher at Gable Hall School, said “We are very proud of our students’ achievements this summer. We are particularly delighted with the fact that between 80 and 83% of our students leave school with a GCSE pass in English and Maths. This sends the message out that with hard work, committed staff and supportive parents, every child can indeed succeed, as they are entitled to”
Nicola Graham, Principal at Harris Academy Chafford Hundred, said: "The individual successes in Maths and English are truly outstanding, with the vast majority of students making, and many exceeding, expected progress.
"It has been such a pleasure to work with the students of this year group. They approached the examinations with great maturity and have been a superb example to students in lower years.
"We will be celebrating success with the students and parents today."
Students can visit www.ucasprogress.com to find out about local post-16 courses.