Thousands of students across North Devon have been holding their breath before receiving their A-level results today (Thursday). The national picture has seen the number of people passing exams remain broadly the same as last year, while top-level grades have fallen slightly. At Petrocs North Devon campus in Barnstaple, 99 per cent of exams were passed for the fourth year running, with 22 per cent passed with A* or A grades. Half of all grades were A*-B. Keith Devine, assistant principal for arts and science, said: Were delighted with the results. The success is down to the students working hard and being well supported and taught by an exceptional and well-motivated staff. Principal Diane Dimond was also thrilled. She said: We are delighted that, once again, Petroc students have produced outstanding A-level results; many gaining places at the countrys top universities on courses such as medicine, law and veterinary science. Student Matt Quance, who will go on to study medicine at Exeter University after securing four As, said: Im absolutely thrilled. I thought I might have done slightly worse than I did in a couple of exams so Im happy to have done it. Bideford College had the best pass rate its ever had at A levels this year, standing at 98 per cent. Of the 82 students collecting results for 200 exams this morning, 50 per cent also got grades A*-B. Head teacher Andrew Kilpatrick said he was delighted for the students. He said: It is certainly a step in the right direction for the college. The other important thing is that our retention rate of students starting and finishing their courses is well above the national average.West Buckland students delivered another excellent set of A-level results after 72 per cent of all exams were passed at A*- B. 41 per cent of all exams were awarded the top A* and A grades with the overall pass rate standing at 98 per cent. It is the ninth successive year at the school where well over two thirds of exams have been awarded the top A* to B grades. Among the top achievers were Charlotte Cornish and Andrew Loat, who both achieved a clean sweep of three A* grades. Charlotte is going on to study French at University College London, while Andrew has a place at Sheffield to study mechanical engineering. Headmaster John Vick said: I am delighted such a high proportion of exams have been awarded the top A* to B grades. It pleasing to see so many exceptional individual performances. There are also many students who do not make the headlines but who have worked to the very best of their ability and achieved excellent results that they can be extremely proud of.Shebbear College students are celebrating a strong performance at A-level with a third of all grades achieved being A or A*. Although Shebbear is a non-selective school, 78 per cent of all grades were A*-C and UK students achieved a 100 per cent pass rate. There were several excellent individual performances, notably in the sciences, and a number of students are looking forward to starting at leading universities. Headmaster Simon Weale was thrilled with the results. I am particularly delighted that we have had such excellent results in the sciences and in maths where 73 per cent of our grades were A or A*, he said. However this is not just a day for the high flyers and I am just as pleased for those students who have managed to achieve the two or three A-level passes which will allow them to start the next phase of their life. All of our leavers will now be able to start on university courses if they wish to and they have shown the resilience to cope with life away from home and the ability to make a constructive contribution to society.There were successes too at Kingsley School in Bideford, where best friends Jonah Spencer and Elliot Sutcliffe both got the grades they needed to study medicine at university next year. Headmaster Simon Woolcott said: Jonah and Elliot thoroughly deserve their success today. Both are exceptional students who acted upon advice and support provided for them and prepared excellent applications for medicine. I am always so proud of all our students who work hard, unlock their talents, find their strengths and are inspired about their futures. I wish them all well.Ilfracombe Academy also achieved a pass rate of 99 per cent, equalling last years success. Headteacher Sharon Marshall said: For the school this underlines an excellent track record of sustained achievement in the sixth form over recent years. For our students, these results represent the opening of doors to future success. Once again the results are a real testimony to the hard work of our students and the dedication of our staff. Ilfracombe head of sixth form Karen Tucker said there were outstanding performances from many students, including Pat Weller who achieved two A* and two A grades and will be studying biology at the University of Cardiff. Harrison Sprague got three As and will also be starting at Cardiff to study biomedical science, while Jamie Colclough scored A*, A, B and Distinction* and is off to study computer science at the University of Exeter. Owain Hughes scooped an A* and three As and after taking a gap year of voluntary work in Swaziland will study electrical power engineering at the University of Bath.