THIS year's exams were toughened up, but Queen Elizabeth's Grammar School managed to achieve better grades than last year, its headteacher said.

Claire Gammon, head of the the West Park Road school, in Blackburn, said despite the harder questions, her pupils managed to achieve great results.

Tears of joy and relief filled the results hall as students discovered they got the grades they needed, or better and started their enrolment process.

One of the school's stars, James Parker, achieved four grade 9s, four grade 8s, a 7 and a 6.

James will move into the school's sixth form and study maths, further maths, physics and computer science.

James said: "I didn't get much sleep the night before with worry, it must have been around 5am when I eventually slept.

"I feel I have done really well and I'm very pleased with my results.

"I studied really hard and the work paid off."

James' mother, Susan Parker, said: "I think he did everything I expected and he worked very hard.

"I am very proud of what he has achieved."

Safa Rahman, who got an 8 in religious studies and English Literature and got a grade 7 in science, said: "I am relieved now.

"I have the grades I want so I can stay on at QEGS and study business, Spanish and psychology."

Dominic Brown, who achieved a grade 6 in PE, as well as a 5 in RE and combined science, said: "The exams were tough this year and I think everyone did really well.

Mrs Gammon said: "I am really pleased and really happy with the great results.

"The children worked so hard for these.

"The exams were much more difficult this year, but this was not reflected in the results.

"Our results are better than last year, we are delighted with them."