CHANGES to the GCSE examination this year created a sleepless night this week for Lydiard Park Academy principal Clive Zimmerman, who feared disappointing results yesterday.

Mr Zimmerman, who has access to the results one day before pupils, faced a troubled night of worry on Tuesday as he weighed up the possibility this year’s results might not live up to expectations.

“We have had our best-ever results. I was very nervous because of everything that’s been in the press,” he said.

“I didn’t sleep much on Tuesday night.

“Like everybody else, I was worrying about the changes made by Mr Gove.”

The academy returned a headline figure of 64 per cent, which measures the number of students who have achieved five or more A* to C grades, including maths and English.

Last year, it was 61 per cent of students to hit the same grades.

“Our students and staff have worked very hard and we have had very few disappointed kids this morning,” said Mr Zimmerman.

“The other nice thing is they are all starting here next year at the new sixth form building.

“We think that will encourage kids in the future to remain motivated in the GCSE studies. They will grow up with the sixth form students, the common room, and aspire to be like them.”

Three of the higher achievers at Lydiard were Becky Bissex, 16, of Toothill, Meghann Newcombe, 16, of Grange Park, and Ellie James, 16, also of Grange Park.

Becky, who achieved 12 A*s and one A, said: “It’s not what I expected. I never thought I would pass music, I was so bad at it.”

Ellie, whose envelope contained four A*s, six As and two Bs, said: “It was really quite intensive. You wanted to stay in and revise, but you would find the most dull things distracting you.

“It’s your last year and you might not see some of your friends again, so you’re always keen to go out and see each other.”

Meghann, who recorded four A*s and nine As, said: “You would stay in and try to motivate yourself, but it was very hard to concentrate.

“My parents were amazing. They were never pushy, they just let me get on with it.”