AN online debate broke out amongst parents and teachers about schools only heaping praise on their highest achievers after GCSE results came out last week.

While the leader of the country’s biggest secondary headteacher union revealed he was inundated with messages from headteachers worried about their school’s results.

Geoff Barton, the general secretary of the Association of School and College Leaders, said heads had reported sleepless nights with some fearing they would lose their jobs prior to last Thursday’s results.

An anonymous post on Facebook group Spotted: Droitwich criticised the focus on the best students because it ignored the potential hardships overcome by those who didn’t get top marks.

In response Jo Jenkinson said her son is “not an A student and never will be” but she was proud of him after he passed his exams after a “tough slog”.

“I have never been to a job interview where they have asked what grades I had in my [GCSEs].

“There are many people in the world who have done great things without exam results.”

Amanda Hall said her daughter had the “worst two years ever” due to medical conditions and being bullied at school meaning she was moved to a special unit and was only able to take Maths, English and Science.

“She didn’t get top end grades, she may have done two years ago, but she came through them unscathed...[and] has a place in college.”

Lynn Hubbard said her daughter suffered “massive” anxiety attacks which led to her “throat closing and what felt like to her was inability to breathe” meaning numerous hospital trips.

Ms Hubbard said she was able to take her exams in a separate room to fellow pupils, and having scraped through, “I shouted from the rooftops about it” on results day.

Sarah Harris said her daughter didn’t get the grades needed for college and had missed a Maths exam due to being in hospital but “I still told her how proud I am”.

Susan Weston, a teacher, said schools are “judged by both government and prospective and current parents” on results and so the “need to celebrate success is essential for wellbeing and reputation of the school”.

She added that this has, however, led to “creative and wellbeing subjects” being “eroded”.

Mr Barton said that this year’s results “will be used to judge the child, the teacher, the headteacher and the school”.

“We pile on too much pressure and try and judge too many things because of it.”