SUNSHINE greeted sixth formers arriving at Archway School this morning to collect their A-Level results.
After months of nervous waiting, a sense of relief hung heavy in the air as they gathered outside amid the warm weather and clear skies to discuss their grades and contemplate their futures.
Friends grouped together on benches to exchange words of congratulation and consolation, while teachers stood close-by, on hand to offer praise and advice to the youngsters whose academic achievements they have played such a major part in.
Nikki Long, from Nailsworth, was one of the Archway pupils who had cause to smile.
By obtaining three Bs, in history, anthropology and geography, she had done what was needed to secure a place at Brunel University to study anthropology.
"Last night I actually had the best night's sleep I had had in a while but when I got up this morning I could feel the butterflies in my stomach," she said.
"I looked at my emails before coming to pick-up my results and I found out that I had got in to Brunel so I was ecstatic."
Ellie Humphrey, 18, from Rodborough, was another Archway pupil who was equally elated.
She had been awarded two As and two Bs after taking English literature, Spanish, history and an extended project option, and she will now go on to study psychology at Bristol UWE.
"It was my first choice of university so I am really happy," said Ellie.
Along with pupils in their final year of sixth form, AS-level students were also collecting their results.
One of those, 17-year-old Craig Wakefield from King's Stanley, received two As, in computing and performing arts, a B in geography and a C in mathematics.
"This morning I was really nervous, although I think my parents were more nervous than I was," he said.
"The results were what I was hoping for and they put me in a good position going into my final year."
Archway headteacher Colin Belford was effusive in his praise for his students and hailed it a 'great year' for the school.
"I am so proud of all of the students. Lots of them are very happy with their results and excited about where they will be moving on to next year," he said.
"Our A-level results have improved on last year again and our AS-level results are also improved over the previous year.
"You always worry because you don't know what the day is going to bring, but there are a lot of happy faces around the place today."