PUPILS across Sussex jumped for joy as they opened their GCSE results yesterday.

There was a sense of relief at Brighton’s secondary schools as students received their teacher-assessed grades, avoiding the stresses of last week’s A-level results crisis.

At Dorothy Stringer School, Mezhabeen Mahfuz and Cassius Amor both received a Progress 8 score of three, meaning their grades were three scores higher than similar pupils nationally.

“I wasn’t expecting it at all,” said Cassius, 16, who will study at Bhasvic in Hove.


“I’m 100 per cent relieved the Government changed the marking.

“I was so nervous, before I thought I was going to be marked low grades.”

The Argus: Mehzabeen Mahfuz, left, and Cassius AmorMehzabeen Mahfuz, left, and Cassius Amor

“I’m so happy,” said Mezhabeen, 16, who will also study at Bhasvic.

“I was terrified of what the grades would have been otherwise.”

High achiever Liam Staras earned an astounding 12 9s, the highest possible grade.

“It’s not bad,” the 16-year-old said.

“It was very nice to open them, although I wasn’t really worried.

“I wasn’t too worried about the previous marking system but it was a relief they changed it.”

Liam will study at Bhasvic, but has no plans to celebrate.

“I wasn’t really thinking about it, I wanted to know what my grades were first,” he said.

Proud Dorothy Stringer headteacher Matt Hillier said he was pleased pupils got the results they deserved.

The Argus: Dorothy Stringer headteacher Matt HillierDorothy Stringer headteacher Matt Hillier

“We know how hard they’ve worked in a very challenging period,” he said

At Hove Park School, Mia Coley celebrated when she was awarded four 9s.

“I wasn’t expecting this many 9s,” the 16-year-old said.

“I’m very happy as a lot of hard work has gone into the last two years.

“The school has been great, I’ve had some great teachers this year and they’ve been very supportive.

“It was so nice to pick the results up in person.”

Mia is now off to Bhasvic to study English, media and another subject which is yet to be decided.

The Argus: Mia ColeyMia Coley

Fellow hove Park pupil Yogi Patel, 16, achieved four 9s in her results.

“I came in with the expectation of passes,” Yogi said.

“So I’m very happy with what I have got.”

She is now off to study at Varndean College.

At Brighton Aldridge Community Academy Aisha Harland was visibly relieved to find out she had earned 8s in maths and science.

“This whole experience has been so stressful and scary,” the 16-year-old said.

“But my teachers have been really supportive and I am happy with my results. Next stop… Bhasvic.”

The Argus: Aisha HarlandAisha Harland

High-achieving Burgess Hill Girls’ School pupils were particularly pleased with their results.

Florence Stapley, 16, received a clean sweep of 9s.

But not content with just her GCSEs, she has also been taking a course in British Sign Language.

“I have always struggled with picking up spoken languages due to my dyslexia,” Florence said.

“I have always wanted to learn BSL but never had the time, so lockdown presented me with a perfect opportunity to do it.”

Alice Cracroft, 16, who also earned 9s across the board, also put herself to the test after GCSE exams were cancelled.

While researching Alzheimer’s disease for her Extended Project Qualification, she cycled 500 miles on her exercise bike over the course of a month to raise money for the Alzheimer’s Society.

“I stumbled across the event while doing some research,” Alice said.

“There were days when I didn’t want to do it but then I just thought about why I was doing it and that the donations meant I had no choice.”

At Varndean School, friends Lara Woodhouse, Stella Columbo, Anna Bill Lopez and Ruby Fitzpatrick hugged and breathed sighs of relief as they opened their results.

The Argus: From left: Lara Woodhouse, Stella Columbo, Anna Bill Lopez, and Ruby FitzpatrickFrom left: Lara Woodhouse, Stella Columbo, Anna Bill Lopez, and Ruby Fitzpatrick

Anna, 16, earned two 9s and will now take the International Baccalaureate at Varndean College.

“I’m so relieved,” she said.

Meanwhile Lara, Stella and Ruby all received the results necessary to study at Bhasvic.

“I had no idea how I got a 7 in French but I’m so happy,” said Ruby, 16. I’m glad the marking changed.”

But the day was particularly meaningful for Brighton healthcare assistant Danniella Mahroyan.

The Sussex Eye Hospital assistant passed her maths GCSE, allowing her to further her studies.