Schools in Manchester are celebrating a great set of A Level results this year that has literally seen them reach for the stars.
Figures show the number of top A* grades in the city's schools outstrips that of other schools nationally and that local schools are improving their top marks at a faster pace than others.
The percentage of exam entries achieving the coveted A* grade in Manchester schools has increased this year to 10.9%, which is 2.6 percentage points above the national figure of 8.3%.
Similarly the number of Manchester school exam entries achieving A*- A grades has also gone up this year to 26.1% - which is only 0.2% below the national figure of 26.3% Overall the percentage of entries achieving A*-E has dipped slightly in the city this year - as it also has nationally - at 97.2%, which is just below the national figure of 97.9%.
This year's results come on the back of a move by exam boards to change the format of assessment for some exams which now no longer have a coursework element to them.
At Parrs Wood High School in Didsbury 27% of all A Levels and BTEC exams taken were awarded top marks. High fliers at the school included Briana Douglas whose two A* and two A grades secured her a highly coveted place at MIT in Boston, USA - one of the world's top universities and hardest to get into. As well as sitting her A levels this year, Briana also had to sit a rigorous set of American exams to qualify for her place at the top-ranking university where she will be studying Computer Science and Engineering.
Over at William Hulme's Grammar School in Whalley Range, nearly 20% of all entries were graded A*-A, and 42% of entries secured A*-B. Hard work clearly paid off for the pupils who are now off to study a wide range of subjects at universities across the country. Success stories included Larissa Aravantinou who achieved A* in French and A grades in Business Studies, Chemistry and Maths and is now off to study Environmental Science at Sheffield University. Fellow pupil Sana Akhtar got three A grades and is off to study Law at Southampton University, while Umear Irfan's three A grades will see him stay in Manchester to study Medicine, along with Ayesha Hassan whose A*, A and B grades has secured her a place to study Pharmacy at the University of Manchester.
Pupils at King David High School have been celebrating after nearly a third (31.43%) of all exams taken at the school were graded A*, and 52% of all exams either A* or A. Six students at the school will be taking up places at either Oxford or Cambridge University, including Galia Shomron who is off to Cambridge with 2A and 1A* to study Psychology, and Joshua Fine who is heading to Oxford also with 2A and 1A* to study Ancient History and Classical Archaelogy. Other pupils celebrating success at the school include Libby Cooper who is going to go into policing, and Tara Morarah who is going to Birmingham University to study Speech and Language Therapy.
It was a sister act at Whalley Range High School as sisters Bushra Iqbal Kousar and Raufa Iqbal both celebrated top marks with three Distinction * grades each in their BTEC exams. Bushra is off to study Psychology and Criminology at MMU, while her sister Raufa is planning to study Business Management. Other success stories include Sheeza Ishan Kausar who achieved A* BB and will be going to Liverpool University to study Aerospace Engineering, and Hajra Khan whose exam passes have secured her a place to study Accounting and Finance, and Igre Chani whose results were enough to get her a place at MMU to study Law.
Councillor Luthfur Rahman, lead member for schools, Manchester City Council, said: "This has been another great set of results for our schools that builds on the success of previous years.
"Despite the various challenges we've seen this year, our students and schools have shown yet again how determined they are to reach for the stars and get the very best results they can.
"Whether they're straight A* students or not, it takes a massive amount of work and dedication for any pupil to pass their exams, and we couldn't be prouder of them for their achievements. We wish them all the very best of luck in the next stage of their lives.
"Big thanks must also go to teachers and support staff who work tirelessly all year round in our schools to help every pupil achieve their best - our students couldn't do it without them."