NEWPORT High School celebrated a huge rise in its pass rate with 75 percent of its pupils achieving five or more GCSEs graded A* to C - a 24 increase on last year's 51 percent.

New headteacher Karyn Keane put the rise down to the school's excellent new facilities, hard work of staff and students and a change in the school curriculum, which now sees some children in years 9 and 10 sitting exams ahead of schedule.

Among the school's stars was Jack Johnson, 14, who had plenty to smile about after successfully passing seven GCSEs two years early.

The Newport High School pupil got five Cs and one A this year having already bagged a C in maths last year aged just 13.

The Year 9 pupil, described by his teachers as a "real bright spark", said he was "really chuffed" with his results.

Jack is one of eight Year 9 pupils who collected results for five or more GCSEs yesterday.

Wales Schools Cross Country team captain Elliott Hardee (CORR), of Malpas, juggled training six times a week with his studies to achieve one A*, four distinction stars, two merits and three Bs.

Almost half the school's Year 10 pupils have already gained five or more GCSEs at C grade or higher.

Duffryn High School improved is pass rate by 15 percent with 64 percent of pupils gaining 5 or more GCSEs at A* to C, while pupils at Hartridge High achieved a 48 percent pass rate - 17 percent up on last year.

Hartridge High twins Matt and Rhiannon Tucker, 16, got a mixture of A*, A, B and C grades, including gaining the same grades in the majority of subjects.

Caerleon Comprehensive School's departing headteacher Dr Adrian Davies said students had delivered the perfect leaving present - achieving an 83 percent pass rate this year, up one percent on last year.

Headteacher of St Joseph's RC High School, Sue Jenkins, said she was delighted pupils achieved a 71 percent pass rate, which she attributed to improved school attendance.

The number of entries awarded grades A* to C in Newport was 64.2 percent - up on last year's 62.6 percent.