PUPILS at a York secondary school ensured their head teacher is leaving on a high note by breaking another GCSE record.

Students at Archbishop Holgate’s CE School broke previous school records with 87 per cent achieving five or more GCSE exam passes at grade C and above. Meanwhile 99 per cent secured five GCSE passes, and 70 per cent got the new benchmark of five A* – C passes including English and maths.

Outgoing head teacher John Harris said: “This is an exceptional set of grades, exceeding all targets, and the result of a great deal of hard work by pupils and staff and strong support from parents. We now look forward to record numbers continuing their studies in our new sixth form.”

In yesterday’s results 13 Archbishop’s pupils achieved a clean sweep of results at A and A*, collecting well over 120 top grades between them. They were Alec Briggs, Alice Carty, Liam Davison, Stephen Dodsworth, Hazel Doughty, Peter Hick, James Hicks, Oscar Hughes, James Hunt, Philippa Oxford, Elliot Parker, Katherine Proctor and Rebecca Turley. Mr Harris, 60, joined the school in 1992, since when the school has grown in size from 439 students to almost 900, partly thanks to the addition of a sixth form in 2008. It achieved an “outstanding” Ofsted rating in 2007.

Across York as a whole eight out of ten students achieved five or more A* to C grades.

Provisional results show that more than 80 per cent of young people achieved five or more A* to C grades, an impressive improvement on last year’s result by eight percentage points.

The percentage of pupils gaining five or more A* – C grades, including English and maths GCSE is 59 per cent, maintaining last year’s significant improvement.

Meanwhile in the East Riding early indications suggest that GCSE results have improved again for the fifth successive year. Results reported by schools indicate that 59 per cent of pupils achieved the government’s “gold standard” of five or more A*-C including English and maths, beating last year’s performance by seven per cent. 71 per cent achieved five or more A*-C GCSE grades sustaining last year’s impressive performance.

North Yorkshire’s schools have scored their best ever set of GCSE results with some schools recording significant increases in their A*-C pass rate including English and maths.

Results so far from about 40 schools, representing 95 per cent of the county’s secondary schools, show that the proportion of pupils achieving five GCSE passes at A*-C, including English and maths, has risen by up to four per cent from the already excellent 59 per cent achieved in the county last year.

• See our special GCSE results supplement in today’s copy of The Press.