THE head teacher at St Gregory's Catholic High School in Great Sankey has praised the achievements of students facing 'personal difficulties' on their GCSE results day.

Almost a third of all grades were in the 7-9 band with strong results across all departments.

Isabella Kressel was the top performing student, achieving eight 9s, two 8s and a 7.

She will study biology, chemistry, German and history at Priestley College in September and hopes to follow in her sister's footsteps to study medicine at university.

Patrick Rimmer was among a selection of students who made the most progress in the last year.

He achieved five 9s, three 8s and two 7s.

Laura Callaghan also made huge progress and scored a fantastic set of results.

Her six 9s, three 8s and a 7 will see her study chemistry, biology and physics and Cronton Sixth Form College.

Her proud mum said: "She worked incredibly hard but you still panic at the last minute because you don't know how it is going to go no matter how much work you put in."

Head teacher Ed McGlinchey said: “I am delighted to be able to celebrate a highly successful year with our staff and pupils who have achieved strong exam performance which once again builds on the success of previous years.

"The pupils have achieved a significant amount of the top grades again with almost a third of all grades being grades 7 to 9.

"I am particularly delighted to see how well a number of pupils experiencing personal difficulties in their lives have done in their exams.

"These pupils were well supported by our staff and have achieved very well and will now successfully move on to college and apprenticeships with positive futures ahead of them.

"Results have been strong across the wider curriculum with English, maths and the sciences doing very well with humanities and the arts producing strong performance too.

"Our food technology department looks to have produced a new batch of Jamie Oliver’s and Nigella Lawson’s with amazing performance well above the national average.

"Overall, the whole school community is proud to have had another very positive year putting our school in a highly competitive field with similar schools nationally. "Well done to all staff and pupils for their hard work and commitment."