THERE were emotional celebrations at schools across the conurbation as anxious pupils discovered how they had fared in their GCSEs.

Thousands of teenagers across Dorset and the New Forest received their results and discovered whether all the studying and stress had been worthwhile.

See all the pictures from GCSE results day across Dorset and the New Forest in a gallery 

Nationally, the proportion of A* to C grades rose very slightly and there was a small decline in the number of A* grades.

But locally, many schools bucked this trend, reporting record numbers of students achieving the highest grades.

Once again, the area's grammar and fee-paying schools performed well. The Government expectation is that pupils should achieve five A* to C passes, including English and maths, and at Bournemouth School, 98 per cent of boys met or exceeded this.

Headmaster Dr Dorian Lewis said: "The number of A* and A grades achieved across a broad range of subjects is truly impressive, only overshadowed by the incredible progress that some of our students have made since joining us in Year 7."

At Bournemouth School for Girls, 98.17 per cent of pupils met the national standard and there was a sizeable increase in the number of pupils graining A* and A grades.

Head Alistair Brien said: "Together with our A level results this has been an excellent year which we can all take pride in and share in the girls' success."

At Poole Grammar School, the figure was 95 per cent. Headteacher Andy Baker said: "The results are particularly pleasing as a number of students sat the more challenging IGCSE qualification for the first time."

And at Parkstone Grammar School, every student entered for examinations achieved five A* to C grades, including English and Maths.

The number of grades at A* and A also increased to 69 per cent and 91 per cent of grades were A* to B.

Headteacher Tracy Harris said: "The girls combine academic success with great commitment to extra-curricular activities and contributions to the school. They are a real inspiration and a credit to themselves and their families."

At Talbot Heath school in Bournemouth, 99 per cent of pupils achieved the benchmark rate. One third of pupils gained straight A* and A grades and many girls gained 100 per cent in all modules in their GCSE papers.

Head Angharad Holloway said: "We're so pleased for them, they and the staff have worked so hard."

There were impressive success stories at the area's comprehensive schools too. At Highcliffe School, 71 per cent of pupils achieved five or more A* to C grades, including English and maths - an increase of five per cent on last year - and 20 students achieved 10 or more A* or A grades.

New headteacher Patrick Earnshaw said: "As a non-selective comprehensive school our students’ overall results are highly commendable."

Magna Academy in Poole capped off a successful year with its best ever GCSE results, with 60 percent of students achieving the benchmark. This follows an Ofsted inspection which labelled the academy "outstanding."

Jonathan Heap, senior vice principal, said: "These results now go to prove that the students at Magna Academy are able to achieve and aspire to high academic performance and make a positive impact on their futures."

The success rate was 65 per cent at St Peter's School in Bournemouth, where one fifth of the year group achieved five or more A* and A grades and 30 pupils gained eight or more A* and A grades.

David Todd, head teacher, said: "We are delighted with such a strong set of results, St Peter's students have achieved exceptionally well, especially during a turbulent time in public examinations."

At the Bourne Academy, staff and pupils celebrated the second highest set of results in the academy's history for English and maths. Fifty five per cent achieved or exceeded the benchmark standard.

Principal Mark Avoth said the results were "fabulous" and added: "What is particularly pleasing is that even in a climate of examination and grade turbulence students and staff at The Bourne Academy have produced some outstanding results."

It was a record breaking year for St Edward's School in Poole, where 73 per cent of Year 11 students gained five ore more GCSEs, including English and maths.

Headteacher Pola Bevan said: “These are outstanding results for a comprehensive school. It is testament to all the hard work and intervention strategies put in by staff, students and the strong support from the families."

Twynham School was another celebrating its best ever GCSE results, with just over 70 per cent of students achieving the required standard.

Executive headteacher Dr Terry Fish said: "I’m absolutely delighted with our students’ GCSE results and at a time when the government is purposely limiting the number of high grades and is making GCSEs harder, our students have risen to that challenge and have excelled.

At Ringwood School, 66 per cent of students met the benchmark and headteacher Christina Edwards said: "We take great pride in being a true comprehensive school and I am delighted with the success of every single student."

Sixty per cent of pupils at Queen Elizabeth's School in Wimborne achieved the standard and the school recorded one of its best ever sets of results.

Headteacher Martin McLeman said: "Our students continue to demonstrate their hard work and commitment - they thoroughly deserve their success."

Recent improvements at the Grange School have continued, with an increase in the number of students achieving A* to C passes in the core subjects.

Overall 47 per cent of the students met the benchmark standard and vocational results were also good.

At Winton and Glenmoor Academies, 53 per cent of boys and 55 per cent of girls achieved the required standard. "Today's results build on the very positive Ofsted report we received," said principal Ben Antell.

At the LeAF Studio, the specialist school for developing athletes and performing arts students, 52 per cent of students achieved at least five A* to C grades, including English and maths.

They included GB Olympic squad rower Lizzie Lander who scored five A*s and four As.

At its sister school Oak Academy, the proportion of students achieving the benchmark standard increased to between 44 and 46 per cent.

Executive principal Gill Blanshard said: "This year we have seen the best ever set of individual results across the federation."

The Avonbourne Trust said Avonbourne College's final percentage of students achieving A* to C (including English and Maths) is expected to be in the region of 56%. It is unable to provide a provisional figure for Harewood College at this stage in relation to the on-going enquiries about its IGCSE results.

St Aldhelm's Academy in Poole had had a troubled year culminating in being taken over by the Ambitions Academy Trust. But new principal Sian Thomas, who was appointed in June, was pleased to see the number of students achieving the benchmark standard increase to 22 per cent. It had been 17 per cent last year and just three per cent in 2013.

She said she was confident next year's results will be significantly higher.

Ferndown Upper School, Carter Community School, Poole High School, Corfe Hills School, the Bishop of Winchester Academy and Canford School had not provided us with the percentage of students that achieved five or more GCSEs, including English and maths.

Philip Jones, the new head at Ferndown Upper School, said their value added score put them in the top third of the country for GCSE results. He also said English and maths were both above the national average.

Corfe Hills School said 68 per cent of pupils had gained five A* to C passes, but could not confirm how many of these were successful in English and maths.

Poole High School said their results were their "best ever" and said the percentage of students achieving A* and A grades increased significantly.

The Avonbourne Trust said they were early adopters of the government's new Progress 8 performance measure, which showed large numbers of students were exceeding the level they were at when they first joined school.

At Canford School, the proportion of A*s increased to nearly 40 per cent and over half the fifth form were awarded at least eight A* or A grades.