STUDENTS across the Vale and the Cotswolds were "over the moon" when they opened this year's A Level results.

There were celebrations and just a few tears as A Level pupils discovered what they had achieved during their exams earlier this summer.

And in a year that saw the overall pass rate fall for the first time in more than 30 years the performance in schools in the Vale and across the Cotswolds was largely better than what was achieved last year.

At Pershore High School 101 students entered the A2 exams, with an A to E rate of 99.5 percent - the same as last year - with 70.2 percent of results at grade C or higher and 43 percent at A*, A or a B.

Headteacher, Clive Corbett, said: "It is gratifying to see young people reap the rewards of their hard work. ‘A’ level examinations provide an increasingly rigorous challenge and success is not easily achieved. I would like to offer all of our students my best wishes in their future endeavours."

Alex Haffner, 18, of Drakes Broughton, achieved an A* in chemistry, and As in Biology and Maths and plans to study to become a vet.

Matthew Fowler, 18, of Mount Pleasant in Pershore secured an A* in Physics, As in maths and sports studies and a B in further maths and fellow student Oliver Knight, 17, of Great Calcroft in Pershore achieved three As in design technology, maths and applied business.

He said: "I was pleased and I was surprised. There was relief mainly. I knew I had it in me but I wasn't sure, doubt creeps in. In the last few days I have been really bad, everything has slowed down."

Martha Robinson, 18, of Stock Green, was shocked by her results an A*, A and a B, which were higher than she expected, and now plans to re consider her options.

Meanwhile Jared White, 18, of Lower Strensham, plans to go to University of Central London to study medicine after getting A* grades in maths, physics and biology and an A in chemistry.

"I am speechless over the results," he said.

Friends Isobel Rudge, 18, Warndon Villages, and Gemma Higgins, 18 of Inkberrow, also achieved one A* and two A grades each.

At Prince Henry's High School the overall pass rate up one percent on last year at 100 percent, and nearly a quarter of the grades were A* to A, more than half were A* to B and 85 percent were A*to C.

The top performer with four A* grades at A-Level was Robert Maher, 18, of Greenhill.

He said: "I am still in a bit of shock but I think I am really quite pleased. I am overwhelmed."

Craig Jones, 18, of Hampton, got an A* in graphics and As in business and geography. "I have worked really hard," he said. "It's been worth it."

Josie Chapman, 18, of Greenhill, achieved an A in psychology, Bs in drama and English language and a C in general studies.

"I haven't slept," she said. "But I am really over the moon. I ran in screaming when I found out I had got into Sussex University to study psychology."

Headteacher Dr Evans said: "Congratulations to all the students. In a climate when there is so much controversy regarding examination results, these are truly stunning performances and are a testament to the hard work of the students, their parents and the teachers here at Prince Henry’s who have supported them."

Over at Evesham High School they too were celebrating with 100 percent of students achieving a level three qualification and 91 percent getting three A Levels or equivalent qualification.

Headteacher Caroline Browne said: "The results compare very favourably with last year. We have a three percent increase in the number of A and B grades achieved. It looks like at this time most of the students have got into their first choice. We are very pleased with some of our high achievers and we are also very pleased with the applied vocational courses."

Alex Jones, 18, of Badsey, who achieved three A* grades in maths, physics and chemistry, said he was "over the moon".

Megan Baylis, 18, of Davies Road, Evesham, received three B grades in English, health and social care and PE.

She said: "I got my first choice to Gloucester University. I never thought I would ever do that well in anything so I am very happy."

In the Cotswolds the news was also good.

Students at Chipping Norton School celebrated the best ever set of A level results with 58 percent of all grades awarded a A*, A or B.

And 100 percent of students achieved an A Level qualification.

High achieving students included Jess Falconer-Hall with three A* grades and Amelia Lennon and Kate Turner with two A* grades and one A.

Headteacher, Simon Duffy, said: "Every year there appears to be more and more pressure on students to get strong grades within a shifting educational landscape as far as examinations are concerned. I am delighted with these results because they reflect the genuine commitment to study that our students have shown, day in and day out."

At The Cotswold School in Bourton records were broken with 68 percent of all grades being at A*, A or B, up from63 percent.

Principal, Will Morgan, commented: "Today is one of the real highlights of this wonderful job."

Deputy Principal and Head of Sixth Form, Phil White, added: "What is particularly pleasing is the strength of these results across the different subject areas. There are tremendous achievements in the sciences, the creative subjects, humanities and languages."

Outstanding performances were had by a number of pupils including Jonathan Roberts who will study Physics at Warwick University, following his A* grades in Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics and an A in Further Mathematics.

And Eleanor Mottram, with a place at The University of Oxford to study Japanese, having achieved A* grades in French and Geography, and an A in German.

Chipping Campden School’s Sixth Form students were celebrating as once again, around a quarter of all the grades awarded were A* or A, with nearly half of all grades being either A*, A or B.

One student Matthew Dean who, having already achieved an A grade in Philosophy and Ethics in Year 12, went on this year to gain an A* in Maths and Physics, an A in Further Maths and B in Computer Science and his Extended A Level Project.

John Sanderson, school principal said: "I am very proud of all that our students have achieved. Many have worked extremely hard for the past two years and clearly thrived in such a supportive and vibrant environment."

More students than ever before picked up top grades at Bredon School, near Tewkesbury.

The overall pass rate was once again 100 percent, with 61 percent of students gaining an A*- B grade.

Outstanding performances were achieved by Tom Phillips, who was awarded an A* and A in OCR sport, a B in travel and tourism and a C in history and Annabelle Trigg, who received an A* in ICT and an A* in Business.

David Ward, headmaster, said: "This is a very impressive set of results and I am thrilled that so many of our students have done so well. I would also like to pay tribute to the hard work and commitment of the teaching staff at Bredon, who work tirelessly to help students achieve the best results they can."