Best friends Emily Garland and Rosie Martin were at Mountbatten School together and were just some of the many students at Peter Symonds College who were both happy and surprised by their AS grades.

Emily 17, of Seward Rise at Halterworth, was awarded four As in French, Spanish, psychology and sociology while Rosie had two As, a B and two Cs in general studies, geography, environment studies, chemistry and French.

Emily said: “I’m feeling really good. I’m going to keep all of them on for next year. I want to go into psychology or maybe social work. If that fails I’ll teach English in France, I wouldn’t mind doing that!”

Rosie, also 17 of Whinwhistle Road in East Wellow, said: “I feel pretty good, especially about geography! I was a bit surprised about the general studies mark too. I’m coming back here next year and then I want to do geography at university.”

Despite the overall pass rate falling nationally for the first time in over 30 years, students at Peter Symonds were hailed triumphant as they achieved some of the best results across the county.

For the college it was one of the most impressive years yet with 99 per cent of A-level students achieving a full pass.

Of those students, 82 per cent had grades between A* to C and 62 per cent had A* to B.

And it wasn’t just the A2 students who were shedding a happy tear or two.

The pass rate for AS-level students was 91 per cent, with 68 per cent achieving grades A to C and 46 per cent getting A to B.

There were 602 A* awarded this year, an increase on last year, accounting for just shy of 12 per cent of the total grades.

Some 17 students scored a remarkable 700 or more UCAS points – the equivalent of five or more A levels at A*.

Head teacher Stephen Carville said: “They are outstanding results and it makes us so proud when you see people crying their eyes out with joy. I was amazed that 33 per cent of the grades are either A* or A which is astounding. To achieve an A* is a tremendous amount of work and is testament to the hard work the teachers have given over the last two years of the course.”