STUDENTS across North Devon have once again been celebrating – or commiserating – as their A Levels results were revealed on Thursday. A number of hard working teenagers gained the new and much talked-about A* grade which nationally has helped break the e

STUDENTS across North Devon have once again been celebrating - or commiserating - as their A Levels results were revealed on Thursday.

A number of hard working teenagers gained the new and much talked-about A* grade which nationally has helped break the exam pass rate record for the 28th year in a row, taking it to 97.6 per cent.

Students and staff at Petroc in Barnstaple were celebrating another excellent set of results, as 158 results scored top marks with A and A* grades, 37 at the new higher grade. Overall, Petroc Barnstaple's pass rate of 97.48 was in line with the national average.

In Chemistry, 10 teenagers achieved new A*, which is designed to reward the country's most able students and help universities choose between the best candidates. Among them was Juliet Baby, 18, who achieved a further three A*s in Physics, Biology and Maths, together with an A for AS Level Further Maths.

"My parents were always confident I'd get A*s and I'm so excited because I worked really hard for it," said Juliet.

"I'm going to Birmingham to study medicine and I know it's going to be hard but now I know I can do it."

Alex Poulson from South Molton was equally delighted with the A* grades she received in Art and Design plus graphic Design, as well as an A in English Literature and Language.

"I worked hard in art and graphics and was hoping for an A, but with English I was completely shocked," said Alex, who is staying at the college to do a one year Foundation Degree.

"I got four As in AS Level last year and I didn't think lightning would strike twice! College was such a new experience - it's such a big change from school.

"Petroc really opened my mind and prepared me for the working world."

Becky Jordan from Barnstaple is off to read Biological Natural Sciences at Cambridge after gaining an A* in Chemistry and Biology plus As in Maths and Physics.

Petroc's Director for Curriculum and Innovation, Huw Davies, added: "This is another great year of results and I'd like to congratulate all our students on their success. I'd like to thank staff for the boundless energy they put in every year and students' families and friends, without whom none of these extraordinary achievements would be possible."

College staff are available to advise students on all their options, post A Level. For more information, call (01271) 338125. The Barnstaple Campus's Guidance Centre is open today (Wednesday) from 10am-3pm to help prospective students decide what to do next.