Shebbear College students have enjoyed a strong set of GCSE results with pass rates being close to 20 per cent above the national average, the school has said.

Among the high achievers was Marian, one of the top performing students in the school not only getting a 9 in English Language, but another 9 and three 8s in her sciences and maths.

Matthew was the top performing mathematician scoring not only a 9 but also an A with distinction in his further maths qualification.

Among many other notable achievements were 14 students who achieved a grade 8 or 9 in art, Niall who determinedly studied for Latin on his own and achieved a grade 9, and both Cameron's who have confusingly shared the same first names and surnames throughout senior school, both achieved nine excellent passes.

Headmaster Simon Weale said: "As is very clear from the press there has been a determined effort by the Government to make the exams more rigorous, and the whole GCSE process is now extremely pressurised and a real ordeal.

"It is to the great credit of our pupils that they kept things together and produced such good results. They will learn from their experience and will cope well with the demands of A level and BTEC.

"Furthermore, the fact that we are not constrained by Government initiatives means we can determinedly keep a wide range of options open to our pupils at GCSE from computer science to such important creative subjects as music, drama and art that are very popular at Shebbear."