Students smashed records as they tore open their GCSE results at a Colindale school today.

Year 11 students at St James’ Catholic High School, in Great Strand, were a bundle of nerves as they piled into the school hall.

Since headteacher Niamh Arnull arrived four years ago, the number of pupils reaching five A* to C grades as has risen by 24 per cent.

She put the recent success down to the students' "hard work and determination".

There were many ecstatic faces settling all previous worries and niggles as they finally collected their grades.

Katie Lynch admitted the news that GCSE grades were slipping “made her doubt herself” but she was delighted to achieve straight A*s.

Charlotte Hardwick said her results have inspired her to pursue her dreams of becoming a teacher.

Britto Matheu was "thrilled, happy and excited" by his achievements.

He needed four D grades to study public services at college but surpassed all expectations and attained grades higher than he needed.

He admitted he would miss school and said his good results were largely down to the encouragement from his teachers.

Ms Arnull also praised staff members, saying they had worked out of school hours to achieve the results.

Many students will stay on at St James to study a wide-range of subject,s including law, media and psychology.